Homemade Fettucine with an Herbed Cream Crawfish Sauce

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Crawfish Boils are a traditional southern version of a family picnic.  Picnic tables are lined up end to end in a backyard.  This is messy eating so newspapers are generously spread over the table tops.  Crawfish are seasoned with secret family spices and slide into huge pots of boiling water.

Corn, Potatoes, Onions are all thrown in for added flavor.  The smell is hypnotic. Hopefully some very empty bellies arrive at this kind of deep southern family gathering.  

Once the crawfish are bright red and the seasonings have had time to do their magic, huge mounds of them are piled high in the middle of the picnic tables.  

The phrase "Laissez les Bons Temps Roulée" just never gets worn out in this state.  Relatives catch up on the family news, children run all over the yard chasing each other with crawfish, and the spicy air is filled with special times repeated over several generations.

My husband has been mentioning for the last year, that he would love to make pasta from scratch.  So, this Father's Day what did he receive?  A pasta roller that attaches to our blender.  We decided for our first attempt at homemade pasta we would make a Fettucini with Herbed Cream Sauce topped with little gems of crawfish.

The recipe that I used called for lobster meat.  I decided to substitute crawfish meat.  

The sauce is actually made by stewing the shells of the crawfish {or lobster} in a sauce of fresh tomatoes, tarragon, thyme, and garlic.  

The flavor of the shells and all of the herbs are strained out in the end.  What is left is a deliciously rich cream sauce that clings to the homemade fettucini with melt-in-your-mouth savoriness.

First things first, we had to tackle making the homemade fettucini.  Like so many other new cooking endeavors {like sorbet...remember?} pasta is ridiculously easy to make.  

Having the pasta roller is probably the most important tool required here as rolling out pasta dough without it would be pretty tedious.

Patrick tackled his new culinary quest with serious focus.  It is adorable to see him in the kitchen.  He turns into a master chef and approaches his recipes with intellect and precision.   He considered several recipes for homemade pasta.  He finally settled on one option, but not without tweaking it and adding a little extra this and changing a little bit of that.

Voila!  Success.  His pasta was beautiful.  It became quite the family affair as I helped catch the long supple ribbons of pasta dough;  Madeleine sprinkled flour all over the counter and carefully lined up the long strands of fettucini so they could dry.

We had flour everywhere!  We were quite afraid of the pasta strands all sticking together.  This recipe made plenty enough pasta for the four of us.  We had another entire serving of 4 that we froze for the following weekend.

Making pasta is a great kitchen activity for teens.  Just like the homemade pretzel weekend, pasta is something more sophisticated than cupcakes or cookies that teenagers will enjoy and feel more mature about doing together as a family.  

The options are now endless.  I would love to try an herbed flavored pasta.  The sky is the limit in terms of varieties of sauces that could be partnered with this homemade deliciousness.  Patrick wants to make homemade ravioli...one of our favorites.  

Homemade Linguine with Crawfish and Herbed Cream Sauce
3-4 pounds of crawfish in their shells 
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 large plum tomatoes, chopped (set aside diced tomatoes for garnish)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 sprigs fresh tarragon sprigs
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh Italian parsley sprigs
2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 pounds fettucine or linguine

Bring very large pot of salted water to boil. Add crawfish. Boil until cooked through, about 12 minutes (or cook in batches, if necessary). Using tongs, transfer crawfish to large rimmed baking sheet. Remove meat from tail and claws; place meat in medium bowl.  Cover and chill meat.  Reserve bodies and shells.
Heat oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Add reserved crawfish  bodies and shells (not the crawfish meat...just the shells!). Sauté 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add tomato paste; stir 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, wine, vinegar, garlic, tarragon, thyme, and parsley. Add cream; boil 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer just until crawfish flavor infuses cream, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Strain sauce into large bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard contents of strainer. (Crawfish and sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.)
Transfer sauce to heavy large saucepan. Add crawfish to sauce. {Snippet's Notes:  I reserved some crawfish to add to the pasta dish as a garnish.} Gently rewarm over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return pasta to pot. Add sauce; toss over medium-high heat until sauce coats pasta, about 4 minutes. Garnish with diced tomato and chopped tarragon. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to large shallow bowl and serve.

Homemade Pasta: Basic Egg
4 large eggs
1 tbs (15 ml) water
3 1/2 cups (830ml) sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp (2mL) salt

Place eggs, water, flour, and salt in mixer bowl.  Attach bowl and flat beater.  Turn to Speed 2 and mix 30 seconds.  Exchange flat beater for dough hook.  Turn to Speed 2 and kneed 2 minutes.  Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 1 to 2 minutes.  Let it rest for 20 minutes.  Divide dough into 4 pieces before processing with Pasta Sheet Roller attachment.  Yields 1 1/4 lbs (565g) dough.

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