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Crawfish and Andouille Macaroni and Cheese

February 15, 2011

by Elizabeth

Last summer, husband and I spent a long weekend in Chicago. It was my first time visiting, but it quickly became one of my favorite cities and now tops our imaginary list of “places we’d like to live someday for 18-24 months”. We ate a lot of good food in Chicago, and I mean a lot, but our dinner at Hugo’s Frog Bar was truly incredible – definitely one of the best steak dinners we’ve shared together. We ate the best crab cakes I’ve ever encountered, perfectly prepared shrimp cocktail, and amazing filets. But by far the best part of the meal was the Crawfish Mac & Cheese with Andouille. Yes, that’s right – macaroni and cheese with crawfish.

Neither of us had ever had crawfish macaroni before, or even heard of it for that matter – and we’ve both spent plenty of time in New Orleans and Cajun country… you know, where you’d think something like crawfish macaroni and cheese would be a specialty. Maybe mixing two southern staples like macaroni and cheese and crawfish etouffée is considered Louisiana sacrilege? If so, that is nonsense, because ohmyheavens crawfish macaroni and cheese is pretty much the most delicious, sinful, best macaroni ever. EVER.

Since going back to Chicago for Valentine’s dinner just to have crawfish macaroni and cheese seemed slightly ridiculous out of budget – I finally attempted to recreate it last night. Thank god I did, our lives are never going to be the same.

Crawfish and Andouille Macaroni and Cheese

makes 4 generous side dishes – but is easily doubled

8 ounces crawfish tail meat, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon cajun seasoning, such as Tony Chachere’s
1/4 stick butter
3 ounces smoked andouille sausage, 1/4 inch-diced
1/4 cup minced shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 cup flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
8 ounces white cheddar, grated (use a good quality, aged cheddar)
8 oz small pasta, such as gemelli, cavatappi, or macaroni

Toss the crawfish with the cajun seasoning and keep refrigerated until needed. Heat the butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan or dutch oven. When bubbling but not yet browned, add the andouille. Cook for 3 minutes, until the andouille starts to brown a little bit. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Do not let the garlic burn. Add the flour and quickly whisk it into the butter. It should absorb all of the liquid in the pot. Let the roux cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring periodically. Whisk in the cream and the milk, a little at a time, making sure all lumps of flour are fully incorporated. Add the salt and peppers, and cook for about 5 more minutes, until the cream and milk have thickened and start to bubble a bit. Meanwhile, cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions.

Once the sauce is thickened, add in the cheese a handful at a time, whisking continuously so that the cheese doesn’t clump up. If it gets too thick, add a little more milk a tablespoon at a time. Add the seasoned crawfish to the cheese sauce. Taste the sauce, and adjust seasonings to your preferences. Let it cook for a few more minutes. When the pasta is ready, drain and then stir the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie permalink
    December 13, 2011 8:46 pm

    Well, I would think this is a main course, not a side dish! Maybe a salad for a side dish just to give the pretention that it is healthy, LOL?

  2. Darci permalink
    February 16, 2012 4:39 pm

    I just had a crawfish, andouille Mac n cheese that also was out of this world good so I’m anxious to try your recipe. My question is, did you cook the crawfish first?

    • February 16, 2012 5:00 pm

      Since the crawfish cooks so quickly, I put it into the finished pasta uncooked, then left it on the hot stove for a few minutes to allow it to cook through. Hope you enjoy!


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