February 16, 2022
By Tommy Thompson
In Cajun country, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, is a celebration to mark the end of holiday high-living and the beginning of Lent and 40 days of fasting before Easter. This year, Mardi Gras falls on February 21 and there’s no better way to celebrate than with a meal of pasta, laden with Cajun delights like Andouille sausage, crawfish tails and sun-dried tomatoes.
Where you live may impact the availability of crawfish. In Louisiana, crawfish season begins in late February and live “bugs” can be found as far east as the Florida Panhandle. However, don’t despair and don’t worry about shucking your own crawfish. Frozen crawfish tails can be found at any time of year, almost statewide, at specialty seafood shops or at major supermarkets. Publix is a good source for frozen crawfish, as well as Savoie’s Andouille sausage from Opelousas, Louisiana. Sun-dried tomatoes come in many versions, but avoid the ones packed in oil, as they will discolor the dish. Pasta choice is up to you, but tricolor spaghetti, colored with tomato and spinach, will make for a festive presentation. I found mine at Trader Joe’s, but it’s also available online.
Mardi Gras Cajun Crawfish Pasta Recipe
Prep and Cook Time: 30 Minutes
- 1 pound tricolor spaghetti
- 1⁄3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound crawfish tails
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1⁄3 pound Andouille sausage
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes, julienned
- 2 or 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Tony Chachere’s Seasoning
Slice the sausage into very thin rounds, chop the garlic, and julienne (thinly slice) the tomatoes. In a frying pan, with two tablespoons of the olive oil, lightly fry the garlic and sausage, taking care not to burn the garlic. Reserve the garlic and sausage, and in the same pan, sauté the crawfish tails and tomatoes in the butter. Finally, combine garlic, sausage, crawfish and tomatoes. Cover and keep warm over low heat.
In a pot with 4 quarts of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until “al dente.” Drain and return to the pot, add the remaining olive oil, crawfish, sausage, garlic and tomatoes. Stir all together, adding salt and pepper to taste. Cook, covered, over very low heat for a few minutes to finish pasta.
Transfer to a serving dish, plate up individual portions, dust with some Tony’s seasoning—and enjoy! FS
Published Florida Sportsman Magazine February 2022