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Prep Time: 1½ Hours

Yields: 8–10 Servings

Sick of the same old spaghetti and meatballs? Well how about this Louisiana version! There are very few Cajun and Creole cooks who won’t have a family recipe for crawfish étouffée. Meatballs made from the wonderful fresh crawfish tails of the season and cooked in the étouffée are the perfect toppings over linguine for a new twist on an old spaghetti favorite.

Ingredients for Crawfish Étouffée:

2 pounds crawfish tails, cleaned

¼ pound butter

1 cup diced onions

½ cup diced celery

½ cup diced green bell peppers

½ cup diced red bell peppers

½ cup diced tomatoes

2 tbsps minced garlic

2 bay leaves

1 cup flour

½ cup tomato sauce

2 quarts crawfish stock, shellfish stock or water

Method for Crawfish Étouffée:

In a 2-gallon saucepot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, bell peppers, tomatoes, minced garlic and bay leaves. Sauté 3–5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted, stirring occasionally. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until a white roux is achieved. Blend crawfish tails and tomato sauce into mixture then cook 5 minutes, stirring to prevent tomato sauce from scorching. Slowly stir in stock or water until a sauce-like consistency is achieved. Add more stock as necessary to retain desired consistency. Bring to a rolling boil then reduce to simmer and cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Prepare meatballs while étouffée is cooking.

Ingredients for Crawfish Meatballs:

2 pounds crawfish tails, divided

½ cup minced onions

¼ cup minced celery

¼ cup minced green bell pepper

¼ cup minced red bell pepper

¼ cup minced yellow bell pepper

3 tbsps minced garlic

2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp Louisiana hot sauce

¼ cup sliced green onions

¼ cup chopped parsley

3 eggs, lightly beaten

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1½ cups seasoned Italian bread crumbs, divided

salt and black pepper to taste

granulated garlic to taste

Creole seasoning to taste

Method for Crawfish Meatballs:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine 1½ pounds crawfish tails, onions, celery, bell peppers, minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, green onions, parsley, eggs, cheese and 1 cup bread crumbs. Season to taste using salt, pepper, granulated garlic and Creole seasoning. Process mixture 8–10 seconds or until all ingredients are incorporated. Transfer mixture into a large mixing bowl then add remaining crawfish tails, blending gently to mix well. Depending on liquid from crawfish tails, additional bread crumbs may be needed to retain desired consistency. Form crawfish mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs. Set aside.

Ingredients for Assembly:

Crawfish Meatballs (see recipe above)

Crawfish Étouffée (see recipe above)

1 pound linguine pasta

1 ounce sherry

1 cup sliced green onions

½ cup chopped parsley

salt and cayenne pepper to taste

granulated garlic to taste

Method for Assembly:

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, set aside and keep warm. When crawfish étouffée is done, carefully drop meatballs into sauce evenly. NOTE: Do not stir during first 10 minutes cooking to prevent meatballs from falling apart. Add sherry, green onions and parsley. Cook 10 additional minutes then season to taste with salt, cayenne pepper and granulated garlic. Serve over cooked linguine.

Recipe courtesy of Chef John Folse