The annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival kicks off this weekend in New Orleans. Aside from the great music, Jazz Fest also features a number of traditional food dishes which have become synonymous with the event. People wait in long lines for small (and pricey) bowls of Crawfish Monica.
Much as I would love to be sampling Crawfish Monica right about now, I no longer live in the Big Easy. Never one to let that stand in my way, I would consider cooking my own, but getting crawfish in Arizona means purchasing frozen meat which was undoubtedly harvested in China. It seems a bit of a betrayal to my Southern culinary roots, not to mention all those bayou fisherman, to buy foreign crawfish. I’m sure my buds in New Orleans don’t care that my choices are limited now that I live in the desert. So, I pass on the idea of crawfish and decide to morph the dish with shrimp…which is easier to get and hopefully wasn’t flown in from overseas.
I originally made a similar dish for my brother and his frat-buddy friends when I first moved to Arizona (and he was still single and fraternizing). Don’t let my Southern friends know, but I’m pretty sure that Velveeta factored into that version. I recall making two huge trays…all of which was gone the next morning.
Natives will likely argue that this recipe is not really that authentic. I am taking a bit of license here since the actual recipe is a trade marked secret; I added some vegetables for color and some smoked sausage. I compared my recipe with one posted by The Times Picayune. Even with the addition of sausage, my version still comes in at half the calories and half the fat. I swear you won’t miss them one bit. Regardless, here is a thinned down version of the Jazz Fest favorite that anyone can enjoy. So, laissez les bon temps roullez!
- 4 cups cooked rotini pasta
- 3 tbls butter
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup diced smoked sausage or Andouille
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups low fat milk
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tsp chopped basil
- 1 pound cooked shrimp
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium high heat.
- Add garlic, green onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell pepper and sausage. Sauté three to five minutes or until vegetables are soft.
- Sprinkle in flour and blend until it disappears.
- Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, about five minutes.
- Add parsley, basil, and shrimp.
- Gently fold in cooked pasta and lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve hot or chill for a cold pasta salad.
Nutritional information – values per serving are approximate:
Calories 373.9 Total Fat 13.2g Cholesterol 179.3mg Sodium 540.8mg Potassium 433.2mg Total Carbohydrate 35.5g Protein 26.6g
Image Credit: Wally Gobetz on Flickr. CC Licensed.