As I write this post, I am wondering why I often merge two different cultures when I come up with a new recipe idea. I think the answer is simple. We cook what we like. As you know, I love Cajun food. And pasta is such a great neutral, good textured, vehicle (can’t find the right word but you get the idea) to absorb the sauce. Everyone and all the restaurants seem to be doing it now. So where did this trend begin and how old is it. I found some interesting sites and what I gleaned is that this fusing of different cultures to create recipes is a good twenty plus years old. It seems that it started from chefs who had trained in different styles of cooking. The first, most common, merged cuisine is European and Asian – known as Eurasian. The simple idea should be to experiment and combine different flavors and see if you like it.
I have done this Cajun Italian fusion mix before with my Rattlesnake Pasta. This pasta was drawing off the idea of gumbo. My Pasta Etouffee used some similar techniques but this time I made the cousin of the gumbo known as Etouffee. Etouffee is a creamy, slightly thicker sauce than a stew. Normally, etouffee is served over rice with shrimp or crawfish. Using noodles is not exactly a big leap but this recipe creates a big textural difference compared to its Cajun cousin.
- 1 lb pasta
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1/2 green pepper, sliced
- 1 bag fresh spinach
- 1 pouch Cajun etouffee mix (Louisiana Fish Fry Prodcuts)
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 4 tbsp butter
In a pot with of boiling salted water, add the pasta and cook until just al dente. The pasta will get tossed again with the vegetables and sauce and cook a little more. Drain the pasta but reserve some of the cooking liquid. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan on medium heat, add the oil and get good and warm. Once, warm, add the onions, peppers and celery.
Cook until they just begin to soften about 3 minutes or so. I like this dish with the vegetables still having some crunch. Next, add in the spinach and cook for a couple of minutes until the spinach just begins to wilt.
In another pot, melt the butter. Once melted, add in the etouffee mix and cook for a couple of minutes until the mixture absorbs the butter.
Now add in 2 cups of water and simmer for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken up.
The next step is to pour the pasta into the vegetable mixture and mix it all up.
Then, finish by pouring in the etouffee sauce over the pasta and vegetables.
Toss well and you are ready to dig in.
Serve and enjoy!