Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cajun Pasta Dinner

--Tailgatin' and how to make mofos start playa hatin' (Recipes)

A recent trip to New Orleans has had Cajun cooking on my mind. I whipped up a fantastic dinner this past week that helped feed the itch which I'm not sure will ever leave. You best believe theres a legendary post on NOLA eats coming but in the meantime let me share with you what I made. I got both a recipe I found while down there and one I came up with in impromptu fashion that turned into a keeper for the recipe book.

Oysters, Eggplant and Tasso Gratin

I found this recipe printed in the newest edition of Southern Foodway's which I picked up at a restaurant in New Orleans. Susan Spicer, the chef credited for this wonderful dish, calls it a "new trinity". FYI the Trinity is the trio of chopped bell peppers, onions and celery added into a dish. Check out the recipe HERE and a step by step picture guide down below. This dish was rich and full of flavor, great start to an epic made at home meal.

Making the roux

Eggplant and tasso being sauteed

The gratin before the top layer of bread crumbs are added

Gratin out of the oven

Oysters, Eggplant and Tasso Gratin w/ French bread for an appetizer

chibbqking Blackened Shrimp Pasta w/ Trinity and Tasso

I was in the mood for a Cajun inspired pasta and ended up creating something from within. Lets take a look at how I did it. I used this guys recipe as a base and changed a few things too.

Ingredients (Serves four as main dish)

2 Pounds Shell on Shrimp, 21 - 30, Peeled and Cleaned
1.5 cups worth of Trinity (chopped onions, celery, peppers) with Tasso
1/4 Cup Blackening seasoning
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as needed
2 Tablespoons Butter, as needed
8 Cloves Garlic, grated or pressed
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as needed
1 Pound Penne Pasta

Trinity with tasso ready to go

1) Start out by removing the shells of the shrimps and de-veining them after. Once done set shrimp in bowl and add healthy amount of blackening seasoning and set aside. Take your shrimp shells and make a stock out of that.

2) Get water ready to boil for the pasta. While waiting grate the garlic, and place it in a small pan with 1/4 cup olive oil. Cook on low heat until the garlic is soft, and fragrant. This will infuse the oil with the garlic flavor. Cook about 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave it alone.

3) While waiting for water to boil, saute the trinty/tasso mixture in a pan with butter and oil until translucent, add some Creole seasoning on top if you got it. Before removing the mixture from the pan add about 1/4 cup of the shrimp stock and cook that thru for 3 mins. Dont clean the pan.

Trinity and Tasso cooking away

4) Once water is boiling add 1 tablespoon of oil with 2 tablespoons Kosher Salt, and add the pasta. Once that's boiling stir to make sure it doesn't stick and then blacken the shrimp in the same pan used to make the trinity. About 2 mins per side in half batches and then set that aside.

My stove as I prep the Cajun pasta

5) When shrimp is done leave your pan as is and get it nice and hot and then follow that by emptying the rest of the shrimp stock into the pan and scraping the bits off of the bottom. Once its all removed strain the liquid through a fine sieve to remove the big black chunks so that its just a dark liquid base like that seen below.

Blackened Shrimp Stock

Blackened Shrimp

6) When the pasta is done, drain it and place it in the bowl. Add the garlic infused oil and mix it up well. Dump the last batch of shrimp into the bowl along with the trinity and tasso and mix well.

chibbqking blackened shrimp with trinity and tasso pasta

7) Serve on plates and drizzle a little of the blackened shrimp stock on top. Enjoy!

Up Close view of the goodness

Note: Tubed pasta works great with this dish b/c the trinity gets stuck up in each piece.

See ya next time @chibbqking.

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