General musings on the ups and downs and ins and outs in the life of a 30 something, unmarried, life loving, some times interesting and sometimes not, mostly happy girl just trying to figure it all out!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Crawfish Stuffed Pasta Shells

Niki's getting ready to head on a family vacation and was telling me about a dish her mom wanted her to make. Unfortunately, she lost the recipe. But crawfish stuffed pasta shells sounded simple enough to me to recreate, so we decided to give it a whirl. Let me be clear, I had no recipe here- we winged it. So this will give you some insight into my cooking style, which is basically: throw it all in a pot and hope it works.

Cook, drain and separate 2 boxes of jumbo pasta shells



Any good Louisiana based recipe starts with the Cajun Trinity: onion, bell pepper and celery. Please don't try to get around this, you will fail miserably.


I used one really big onion, two bell peppers and 3 stalks of celery. For this recipe, I cooked it down fairly well because it's going into a stuffing-type mix. After they warmed in the pan I added a stick of butter, three cloves of garlic (minced) and about 3 tablespoons of shrimp boil for flavor (You could use Old Bay as well). When the trinity was the consistency I wanted I added two bags of (thawed) frozen crawfish tails and let it all mix together well in the pan and warm through. (You could use shrimp here is you like, but you may need more butter or oil. Frozen crawfish have a lot of juices with them)



When it is well blended, put it all into a mixing bowl. Add plain bread crumbs (I used one container of Progresso) and 2 eggs. (My crawfish mix had plenty of flavor going on, but shrimp are milder, so you could add some cheese if you like.) Mix well.


Fill your pasta shells and lay them out in a pan (or in this case, foil pans because they'll be traveling). 


The next step is to make your sauce. We went with a white parmesan cream sauce. 


I knew I would need some flour to thicken my sauce, so I went with a roux-like base. This is not how it should look. You should have a nice paste. I over-killed on my flour. I was able to save it, but your roux should be equal parts butter or oil and flour and should be like a thin paste. It will thicken more than you think. 


Add half and half and milk until you have as much sauce as you need (I made 3/4 of this pot) and let it simmer and bubble until it begins to thicken, whisking every few minutes. If your flour is clumping some you can pour out some of the milk/cream and use a hand mixer to blend the flour and some of the milk until it's smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, 2 or 3 cloves of grated garlic and parmesan cheese (don't use the kind in the shaker, it won't melt well. Use shaved pieces or grate it yourself.) Let that simmer until the cheese is well melted. Pour over your shells and voila! 


Anytime you are cooking something with these type of ingredients, you need to let it sit at least overnight. It will be good right away, but it will be much, much better if you let it sit so the flavors can meld. I am always disappointed if I don't. After letting these sit, bake at 350 until they are warmed through. You can top with more bread crumbs and cheese if you like before baking. 

Ingredients (as close as I can get you):

Shells:
2 boxes of jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained
2 bags frozen crawfish tails, thawed
1 very large or 2 medium onions
2 bell peppers
3 stalks celery
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1 stick butter
3 to 4 tablespoons shrimp boil or seafood seasoning
1 container plain bread crumbs
2 eggs

Sauce:
1 stick butter
4 to 5 tablespoons flour
1 pint half and half
About 4 cups milk
2 to 3 cloves garlic
Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

2 comments:

  1. I don't know how I missed this one. Wish I'd been at the table. Looks/sounds yummo!

    ReplyDelete

All About Ashley

My photo
Spring, TX, Southern, United States
Playing with and keeping up with my nephew and niece take up a lot of my time. Van Geaux takes up the rest of it. Work is an afterthought most days! I like to be outside- but not when it's too hot. I get bored at my desk all day. Niki keeps my world spinning and without her and AC I'd lose it. My work ethic crashes at 4 p.m. daily and I live my sweet puppy and my hedgehog whenever I am not at Niki's. I truly believe naps are quality pass-time events, and sometimes I say bad words at work. I'm pretty sure I'm insane on multiple levels and I believe rules don't apply to me.
It seems that my life is quite entertaining. I didn't realize this myself, but was informed of it by my friends- who are rather entertained by tales of my life occurrences.

I'm far from a professional writer. These are just stories, comments, and other items for simple amusement. Hopefully it's a fun read, as Shannon plans to edit it into a book one day! Maybe we'll become famous, and maybe we'll just have some good laughs at my expense (and some other characters in my life). Either way, happy reading!















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