Jazzy Crawfish Pasta

Crawfish Monica

Jazzy Crawfish Pasta

In case you missed my tweets yesterday, the 2012 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival daily schedules have been posted.  The lineup is crazy good this year.  Almost as crazy good as this Jazzy Crawfish Pasta–my take on Crawfish Monica.  Crawfish Monica has been a festival-goer favorite for some 30 years now.  It consists of a mesmerizing bowl of rotini pasta drenched in a deliciously spicy crawfish cream sauce.  This dish became so popular at Jazz Fest that back in 2009, its creator Chef Pierre Hilzim (who named the seafood specialty after his wife Monica) trademarked the name and began commercially producing and selling a heat-and-serve version through Kajun Kettle Foods.  But that hasn’t stopped the masses, including me, from trying to recreate that Jazz Fest experience in their own kitchens.  My frequent visits to the Crawfish Monica food booth have helped me break down that highly guarded recipe to what I believe to be a basic heavy cream reduction enriched with butter, Creole seasonings and, of course, crawfish tails.  Be careful if you decide to use light cream or half-and-half in place of the heavy cream.  Those less-fat substitutes are prone to separate and curdle.  If you go that route, you may want to add a little of the pasta water or a flour or cornstarch slurry to the pot.  The starch will help stabilize the sauce.

Jazzy Crawfish Pasta Recipe

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1 pound rotini pasta
1 stick unsalted butter
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 quart heavy cream
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound frozen crawfish tails, thawed and undrained

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.  In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add green onions and garlic; cook until tender, 2-3 minutes.  Stir in heavy cream and next seven ingredients (through cayenne pepper); bring to a strong simmer.  Cook, stirring frequently, until cream is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden, 5-7 minutes.  Fold crawfish tails and cooked pasta into cream sauce; cook until warmed through, about 2 more minutes.  Adjust seasoning if necessary.  Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.  Stir and serve.  Makes 6-8 servings.


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9 Responses
  1. SandyT says:

    I have had Crawfish Monica before. I told my daughter about finding your recipe for Jazzy Crawfish Pasta today, and as I had bought a package of crawfish tails at the grocery store a couple of days ago, we thought tonight would be a good time to try it. She stopped at the store on her way home from work and bought some heavy cream, green onions and the rotini. We had everything else we needed and in about 30 minutes sat down to eat supper. It was spectacular! It is every bit as good as the “Monica” recipe. Four of us ate, and there was enough left over for her husband to take some for his lunch tomorrow, some for my lunch tomorrow, plus some. It will indeed feed at least 6-8 people and it was delicious. I have saved your website in my favorites and will be back for more! Thanks!

    • Genet says:

      So glad you all liked it! It’s one of my family’s favorites. Oh and when it comes to reheating, it’s best to add an extra splash of cream to keep the butter from separating (hope you read this before your hubby fixes his lunch

  2. Melanie says:

    I think you’ve got something here. I’ve been making this at home for years. Just yesterday I went to the fest and tried it – and the first thing I noticed is that it has a more ‘herby’ taste than I remember. The oregano and thyme make it more similar to the “real thing” at the fest. I soak my tails in crab boil before cooking. I just love that crawfish boil taste.

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  4. Tina says:

    Thank you for your wonderful recipes. I have tried some of you other ones, and they were great. I was looking for a recipe for a crawfish pasta dish for a large party. Would you have a recipe for say 50 people?

    • Genet says:

      Hey Tina! Thanks for your kind words. I don’t have any recipes that serve that many people but two double batches of the Jazzy Crawfish Pasta should certainly be enough.

  5. Christina says:

    I made this last night and received rave reviews! It was fantastic and super simple to make. I’m also a native New Orleanian living in the burbs of Atlanta. Can’t wait to make this again and some more of your recipes! Thank you for sharing.

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