Crawfish-Stuffed Pasta Shells With Sauce Cardinale

Prep Time: 1½ Hours

Yields: 6 Servings


Here is a great example of the innovative Creoles using a seafood stuffing to create an interesting entrée. Normally this was done in either chicken or in turbans of trout. In this recipe, the crawfish is stuffed into Italian pasta shells, baked and topped with a delicious Sauce Cardinale.

Ingredients for Crawfish-Stuffed Shells:

1½ pounds crawfish tails, chopped

1 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells

1 cup minced onions

½ cup minced green bell peppers

½ cup minced red bell peppers

3 tbsps minced garlic

4 tbsps Worcestershire sauce

salt and black pepper to taste

granulated garlic to taste

2 eggs, beaten

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

Method for Crawfish-Stuffed Shells:

Boil pasta shells according to package directions until al dente and set aside. Be careful not to overcook or pasta shells will fall apart. In the bowl of a food processor, add crawfish tails, onions, bell peppers, minced garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Season to taste with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Pulse 2–3 times and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add eggs to crawfish mixture, stirring to combine ingredients. Fold in Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Stuff each pasta shell with an equal amount of crawfish mixture. Place shells in a 9" x 13" baking pan and set aside.

Ingredients for Sauce Cardinale:

½ pound crawfish tails

¼ pound butter

½ cup minced onions

½ cup minced celery

¼ cup minced red bell pepper

¼ cup minced yellow bell pepper

¼ cup thinly sliced garlic

½ cup flour

½ cup tomato sauce

1 quart shellfish stock

½ cup heavy whipping cream

1 tbsp minced tarragon

1 tbsp minced basil

1 tbsp minced parsley

salt and black pepper to taste

granulated garlic to taste

Method for Sauce Cardinale:

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a 2-gallon saucepot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, bell peppers and sliced garlic then sauté 3–5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add flour and cook until a white roux is achieved, stirring constantly. Add tomato sauce and shellfish stock, 2 cups at a time, whisking constantly until well blended and sauce is slightly thickened. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 15 minutes. Add heavy whipping cream, tarragon, basil and parsley, blending well. Season to taste using salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Carefully pour sauce over prepared stuffed shells. Cover and bake 30–40 minutes or until heated thoroughly.