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+ servings

Crawfish Monica

Succulent crawfish tails cooked in spices and a rich cream sauce then tossed with pasta. Crawfish Monica has become the most popular dish at the New Orleans Jazz Festival after being introduced in the early 1980s-a New Orleans classic in a short period of time.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Cajun, Creole
Keyword: crawfish monica
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 608kcal
Author: Sweet Daddy D

Here's What You Need

  • 1 pound rotini pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning plus some for the crawfish
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne optional
  • ½ cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 pounds Louisiana crawfish tails
  • 1 bunch green onions chopped
  • ½ cup parsley chopped
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated and divided

Here's What You Do

  • Cook the pasta to al denté according to the package direction.
  • Reserve about ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water. When the pasta is al dente, drain but don't rinse. Return the pasta to the pot, cover and set aside.
  • Place the crawfish tails in a bowl and sprinkle with Creole seasoning. Mix well and set aside.
  • In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat until frothy.
  • Add the yellow onions and saute until soft, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and continue to saute until aromatic, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the creole seasoning and cayenne (if using) and stir well. Saute another two or three minutes.
  • Add the wine, bring to a heavy simmer and allow the wine to evaporate almost completely.
  • Add the cream and lemon juice, stirring and shaking the pan until well blended.
  • Simmer on low for a couple of minutes until it begins to slightly thicken.
  • Add the crawfish tails a few at a time and stir well to blend completely.
  • Allow the crawfish tails to only warm through (about 3 minutes), then add the green onions and parsley.
  • Mix well and simmer about two minutes.
  • Add the reserved pasta water and a drizzle of olive oil to the cooked pasta and stir thoroughly.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the sauce a little at a time. Stir completely to combine the pasta, sauce and crawfish tails before adding more pasta. See Recipe Notes about how much pasta to add.
  • When the pasta has been thoroughly combined, stir in about ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese and mix well. Reserve the remaining parmesan cheese to add at the table.
  • Remove from the heat. When serving, sprinkle more parmesan cheese on top.


What type of pasta should I use? The traditional Jazz Fest version is made with Rotini pasta, that’s the short corkscrew-shaped pasta.  Rotini is perfect because its shape helps grab the sauce, so any substitute should do the same. Some great options are fusilli (also a twisty-shaped pasta), fettuccine and linguine work well because of their flat shape and farfalle’s bowtie shape is also well suited for this dish.  
How much of the cooked pasta should you add? Enough so that it is all well coated with the sauce.  If you add too much pasta, it will seem dry and you don't want that. Add the pasta in batches, thoroughly stirring to combine before adding more. It may take as little as 12 ounces and probably not as much as the full pound. 
Leftovers? You probably won’t have any but I have found that freezing leftover Monica does not go very well. The cream sauce has a tendency to separate and the pasta can get mushy. I would stick with refrigerating leftovers in airtight containers for 3 or 4 days. You can reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan, making sure to warm it slowly and stir frequently to keep everything together.  
Where can I get Louisiana crawfish tail meat? If you don’t have a local source for Louisiana crawfish tail meat, you can order them online at Cajun Grocers (dot-com) and Tony’s Seafood. I don’t have any affiliation with these businesses, but I have used them both and know they are reliable and have quality products. You can also search Amazon (I do have an affiliate relationship with Amazon and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The price you pay as a consumer does not change, but I may make a small commission based on your purchase).


Calories: 608kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 131mg | Sodium: 319mg | Potassium: 293mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1899IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 223mg | Iron: 1mg

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