Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fettuccine with Crawfish and Okra en Tomato Ragoût

     Louisiana Style Pasta!
     On first glance, the sauce looks like a Creole Sauce.  People do tend to associate crawfish and the color red as being Crawfish Creole.  The cooking technique for making Creole Sauce and Tomato Ragoût are nearly the same.  The main difference is the flavor.  Herbs de Provence flavor today's Tomato Ragoût.
     Many restaurants in New Orleans feature French food, because the French heritage in this region.  New Orleans French recipes tend to be traditional and old fashioned.  Many of the French cuisine  recipes are classic recipes from the 1800's that have not changed to this day.
     Today's Louisiana style pasta that was made with fresh ripe red tomatoes.  The fresh plum tomatoes in my area have been ripe and dark red lately.  These kind of ripe tomatoes are great for al fresco sauces and ragouts.  Fresh red ripe tomato sauces are refreshing in the summer season when temperatures climb through the roof.
     The okra in this pasta recipe becomes tender in the same amount of time that it takes to stew ripe tomatoes.  It does not take much time to stew red ripe fresh tomatoes!  When okra is stewed for a short time, it does not become slimy.
     Fettuccine with Crawfish and Okra en Tomato Ragoût:
     This recipe yields 1 petite pasta entrée.
     This sauce does not take much time to prepare if soft red ripe fresh tomatoes are used.
     *Keep a pot of water boiling so the pasta can be cooked later in the recipe.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add !/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped onion.
     Sauté till the onions start to turn clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 5-7 small fresh okra that are cut in half lengthwise.
     Add 2 soft red ripe plum tomatoes that are cut into 3/8" thick wedges.
     Gently sauté the tomatoes for 2 minutes.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.
     Simmer and reduce, till the liquid is almost evaporated.
     Step 4:  Add 1/3 cup of tomato puree.
     Add 1 cup of shrimp broth.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 2 pinches of Herbs du Provence.
     Add 1 small pinch of tarragon.
     Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 15 to 20 peeled poached crawfish tails and their orange fat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 2 pinches of finely chopped curly leaf parsley.
     Step 5:  Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to very low.
     Step 6:  Now is the time to start cooking the fettuccine!  Cook 1 small portion of fettuccine in boiling water over high heat, till the pasta is al dente.
     Step 7:  Simmer and reduce the ragoût, till it becomes a medium thick consistency, with no excess liquid.
     Keep the ragout warm over very low heat.
     Step 8:  About 1 minute before the fettuccine is cooked al dente, place 4 whole poached crawfish in the hot pasta water.
     When the pasta finishes cooking, drain the water off of the crawfish and fettucini.  Use tongs to remove the crawfish and set them aside.
     Step 9:  Add the fettuccine to the ragoût.
     Toss the ragout and pasta together.
     Step 1:  Remove the bay leaf.
     Step 2:  Use a long straight tine carving fork to gather the pasta in the pan, while spinning the fork.
     Turn the fork with the pasta vertically onto the center of a plate while continually spinning the fork.
     Pull the fork straight up.  You should end up with a small vertical twist of fettucini on the plate!
     Step 3:  Spoon the crawfish okra tomato ragout a la herbs de provence on the plate around the pasta.
     Place the 4 warm whole poached crawfish on the sauce around the pasta as a garnish.
     Garnish the plate with a parsley sprig and a thin lemon wedge.
     The whole crawfish are nice to snack on between bites of the pasta.  This is a nice petite pasta portion for a multi course dinner.

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