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Spicy Crawfish Mac and Cheese

A great way to enjoy Louisiana crawfish. Combine crawfish tails with a cheesy sauce and elbow macaroni. Cover with cheese and bake to a golden brown.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Cajun, Creole
Keyword: crawfish mac and cheese
Servings: 12 Servings
Calories: 504kcal
Author: Sweet Daddy D

Here's What You Need

  • 1 pound Louisiana crawfish tails
  • 14 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese divided
  • 2 cups pepper jack cheese
  • ¼ cup pimentos chopped
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeno peppers chopped with seeds removed (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning plus some for the crawfish
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter for the top

Here's What You Do

  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions and set aside.
  • Sprinkle the crawfish tails with Creole seasoning and set them aside.
  • Prepare the jalapeno pepper by slicing in half lengthwise and removing the seeds and membrane. Finely chop.
  • Grate the cheeses, measure the other ingredients and set them aside. Prepare a casserole dish by spreading softened butter on the inside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the cheese sauce

  • Start with a cold Dutch oven. Add the heavy cream, melted butter and eggs to the Dutch oven off the heat. Whisk together until all are combined thoroughly.
  • When the cream, eggs and butter are completely combined, move the Dutch oven over medium heat and slowly warm the cream mixture, stirring or whisking constantly until a slight simmer develops.
  • Add the Pepper Jack Cheese and 2 cups of the Cheddar Cheese (reserve the remaining cheese for the top) and stir to combinethe cheese into the cream sauce.
  • Continue to stir as the cheese melts.
  • Add the Creole seasoning, kosher salt, white peppers, dry mustard, chopped pimentos and chopped jalapenos (if using). Mix together thoroughly.

Add the crawfish tails and pasta

  • Add the crawfish tails and stir until evenly distributed throughout the cheese sauce.
  • Simmer the cheese sauce on low heat for a minute or two.
  • Add about half of the cooked pasta and combine thoroughly. Mix in more pasta, a little at a time, until all of the pasta is heavily coated with cheese sauce. Be careful not to add too much pasta or there won’t be enough cheese sauce to coat it all.

Build the casserole and bake

  • Turn the macaroni and cheese mixture into a baking casserole dish that has been prepared by coating the insides with softened butter.
  • Spread the remaining Cheddar Cheese evenly on top and sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs (if using) evenly on top, then place small pats of butter on top of that.
  • Place the casserole, uncovered, in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the cheese topping is starting to brown.
  • Remove the casserole from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes, then serve.

Notes

A great way to use leftover crawfish from your boil.
Pregrated cheese is fine to use in this recipe. 
You can increase the amount of cheese if you want it extremely cheesy.
If you want less heat, leave out the jalapeno pepper and substitute Monterey Jack Cheese for the Pepper Jack.
Cheddar and Jack cheese blend into a great flavor but experiment with other types of cheese for an almost endless variety of flavors.
Leftover macaroni and cheese can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days; reheat in single-serving sizes in the microwave. If the sauce separates while reheating, simply stir thoroughly to combine.
This casserole can be made in advance and frozen prior to baking. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then bake uncovered in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese topping is golden brown. You can also freeze the casserole after baking. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and bake at 350 degrees, covered in aluminum foil for 20 to 30 minutes, until the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
The key to maintaining the quality of the dish while stored in the refrigerator or freezer is to store it in an airtight container.
If you don't want to use elbow macaroni, use your favorite pasta. I recommend a hearty, thick pasta noodle so that the sauce has a place to land. Some suggestions: bowtie, rotini, long macaroni, or even fettucini. 

Nutrition

Calories: 504kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 558mg | Potassium: 193mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1375IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 390mg | Iron: 1mg

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