CAJUN CRAWFISH MAC AND CHEESE
Crawfish are in peak season in early-March through mid-June and while that it the best time to find fresh crawfish, frozen crawfish bodies can be found at many specialty seafood shops. The Cajun spices added to the roux give the sauce a bit of a kick while the combination of mozzarella, provolone and Parmesan give the sauce a creamy consistency. When whisking the cheeses into the roux mixture, be careful not to cook the cheeses in at too high a heat or for too long, it will become stringy and there is no easy fix. This is #notsponsored by any Cajun spice brand in particular, I just favor Slap Ya Mama because my family has been using it for years! I love the blend of red pepper, black pepper, salt and garlic.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (I use Slap Ya Mama™)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
¼ cup shredded provolone
½ cup shredded mozzarella
1 pound frozen crawfish bodies, divided
3¼ cups seafood stock, divided
Kosher salt, as needed
¾ pound fusilli pasta
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow it to melt. Add the onion and the garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the cayenne, paprika and Cajun seasoning and stir to combine. Whisk in the flour and let cook, continuing to whisk frequently until the mixture is golden brown. Add the milk, whisking to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the Parmesan, provolone and mozzarella until completely combined. Season to taste with salt and keep warm over low heat.
Set aside ½ cup of the crawfish. In a blender combine the remaining crawfish with ¼ cup of the seafood stock and pulse until the crawfish is minced but not pureed. Stir in the crawfish mixture into the cheese sauce.
Bring a large pot with the remaining seafood stock and water to the boil; salt the water and bring back to a boil. Pour in the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Before draining, set aside about one cup of the cooking water. Drain and return the pasta to the pot. Add the sauce and stir to combine and evenly coat the noodles with the sauce. If the sauce begins to get too clumpy, add some of the reserved pasta water, a tablespoon at a time.
To serve, ladle into warm pasta bowls and top with the remaining crawfish, green onions and parsley.
Serves 4 to 6.