Sunday, March 7, 2010

Crawfish Fettuccine, Creamy Italian Salad, French Toast Bread Pudding

The studio audience of my cooking show. :)

Sean's parents came to stay with us this weekend for a friend's wedding, so I made supper for the 4 of us Friday night. Crawfish Fettuccine is one of Sean's favorite meals and it was inspired by (stolen) from our favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Conway, The Pasta House. I love to recreate my own recipes from meals we have while eating out. He always orders this when we go there so after taking a bite each time and surveying my taste buds, I was able to play the guessing game and recreate it at home. We served it with one of my favorite salads (its simple and delicious!), Italian garlic bread, and sweet tea, of course. :)

Crawfish Fettuccine
1 lb fettuccine or linguine pasta
About 12 oz cooked crawfish meat (I get it in the freezer section of Walmart)
2 cups whipping cream (appr. 1 small carton)
2 tsp minced garlic or about one whole clove minced
4 tbs butter
3 tbs flour
fresh cilantro
3-4 tsp diced jalapenos (adjust to your taste)
salt and pepper
About 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Bring water in large pot to boil and generously salt water (2-3 tbs). *Most people neglect this step but believe the Italian when I say it is completely necessary when cooking pasta. It's the only time pasta can be salted and since you drain the water, you need a good bit of salt to add flavor. In addition, the pasta's natural flavors are only brought out if salt is added to the water when boiling. Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to prevent sticking and boil pasta until done. Most say til "al-dente" but I tend to like mine a little softer with less "bite" to it, so I boil for about 15 minutes, instead of 12.*
While the pasta is boiling, add butter and garlic to large pan on Medium heat. When the butter is melted, add flour and stir into butter and garlic to make your roux (thickening agent). Gradually add in whipping cream and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring with a whisk to get rid of lumps. Add diced jalapenos to your desired level of spice. (1 tsp is really mild so I do about 3 to please everyone.) Chop a handful of fresh cilantro (its a strong flavor fresh, so again, to your liking) and add it to the pan, along with salt and pepper. Stir in desired amout grated Parmesan cheese. Add in thawed crawfish meat and stir until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add drained, cooked pasta to cream and toss together. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and fresh cilantro. It's SO good!
Creamy Italian Salad
8 0z bag Iceberg or romaine lettuce
1 tomato, chopped
Parmesan cheese, both the grated shaker can kind and fresh grated cheese
Creamy Italian dressing
Salt and pepper

Rinse the lettuce and chop the tomato. My sous chef, Pam, assisted with this. Drizzle with dressing and add a GENEROUS amount of parmesan cheese from the shaker can. The cheese makes the dressing so add about 3/4 cup or so. Salt and pepper liberally, about 1-2 tsp each. Sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan cheese and toss together. Can serve immediately, but this salad gets better after chilling overnight!

After dinner was enjoyed and digested, I threw together the next morning's breakfast in advance. This French Toast Bread Pudding is great for having company over because it can be prepared the night before and just put in the oven once everyone is awake. I just took a pic of the final product because it just required mixing everything together and placing into a casserole! It was the first time I made it but I'll definitely make it again.

French Toast Bread Pudding
Half a loaf of day old bread, cubed
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans ( I always have them in the freezer)
Nonstick cooking spray
Maple syrup

  • In large bowl, whisk together milk and eggs.
  • Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla and whisk until incorporated. Add chopped pecans.
  • Spray casserole dish(8x8 or 9x5) and place cubed bread in dish.
  • Pour mixture over bread, cover with foil and place in fridge until ready to bake (at least one hour or overnight).
  • Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Drizzle maple syrup over bread pudding and serve warm. Its perfect for a saturday morning!

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