Let’s get shakin’

Next to Mardi Gras one of the biggest festivals in the Big Easy is of course Jazz Fest. Personally, I’m not a fan of New Orleans Mardi Gras, it’s just too many people. Don’t get me wrong I love New Orleans! I even once owned and lived in the famous Octoroon Mansion on Royal St. next to the Cathedral (yes it was haunted.)  

The history, the nightlife, and of course THE FOOD. Arguably some of the best food you can find. If there’s anything I love more than food (and of course a good stiff cocktail) it would be music. Well, Jazz Fest got ya covered. From Jazz to Blues, Country, to Pop, and top 40, they’ve got it all.

One of the staple dishes and what some people live for during Jazz Fest is a famous not-so-secret signature dish the Crawfish Monica. It’s always a top food seller at festivals and for good reason, it’s just great, it’s classic New Orleans, classic Louisiana, in one simple-to-make dish. It’s perfect for Jazz Fest and has been a staple there as long as I can remember BUT it’s also quite popular during Mardi Gras season since Mardi Gras falls in the early part of Louisiana’s crawfish season. 

In this week’s Mardi Gras edition of Tips and Tales, I’m going to let y’all have it. I make this recipe at least 4-5 times a year but right now with fresh crawfish available you just can’t beat this one. I’ve used this recipe in multiple videos and the reactions I get are off the chart, once I made it, and seems like I had half the parish at home making it themselves the next night. Y’all gotta give this one a try. ** Oh, and just FYI it’s great from a Tupperware container on the side of the road waiting in the cold for a parade also!!!!

Crawfish Monica 


  • 1lb Crawfish Tails
  • 1lb Rotini Pasta
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter, unsalted
  • 3 Large Shallots, chopped
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Benwood’s Surely Southern seasoning

      (or Cajun seasoning of your choice 

  • ¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • ¼ Cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 4 Green Onions, chopped
  • ¼ Cup Parsley, chopped
  • 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated


  1. Peel the crawfish to get 1lb of tails. Set aside. (If you’re using frozen crawfish tails, make sure they’re thawed)
  2. Cook the pasta per the package instructions until Al Dente. Drain and set aside reserving a cup of the pasta water.
  3. In a large heavy-bottomed pan melt the butter over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the chopped shallots and cook for a few minutes until translucent.
  5. Add the minced garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in the Benwood’s or Cajun seasoning and Cayenne Pepper.
  7. Add the white wine and stir.
  8. Slowly mix in the heavy cream. Stirring. 
  9. Add the lemon juice and stir.
  10. Add the crawfish tails and stir them into the sauce. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until bubbling.
  11. Stir in the chopped parsley and green onions.
  12. Add the grated parmesan cheese and stir until melted.
  13. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. If you feel the sauce is too thick go ahead and add a little pasta water back to the mixture.

** even better topped with a little Benwood’s Louisiana Hot Sauce or Garlic Hot Sauce 

Till next week I’m Chef Hunter Lee, Happy Mardi Gras and Laissez les bons temps rouler.

Benwood’s, uniquely Southern, Surely the best!!!