Chilli Crab Spaghetti

Like some of the best, this recipe came about by accident when Mr LP and I found ourselves with nearly half a kilo of raw crab meat to use.

It was my fault. I bought the wrong sort, frozen at the time, from a posh fishmonger and whacked it in the fridge to defrost without a second glance at the packaging. 

The next morning, when Mr LP began to chef up his famous crab balls, I heard a panicked shriek from the kitchen. No, shriek is wrong. It went more like this: "Fuck! This crab meat is raw!" Oops. Maybe that's why it cost close to $50. 

Mere hours from when the crab balls (and us) were due at our friends' for lunch, I was dispatched to buy the right sort, lest we murder a small fortune in blue swimmer crab for the sake of a few croquettes. I went to Woolies and got the canned stuff. It worked just as well. Uppercut to me.

Back at home, determined to make something fabulous with the very expensive tub of crab in my fridge, I came up with this spaghetti. It was, dare I say it, money well spent to create one of the sweetest, most delicious pasta dinners I've ever had. We are still talking about it, weeks later.

So, I'm on holidays right now up on the gorgeous NSW far north coast, and what does my uncle bring for us a couple of nights ago? Fresh mud crab, caught in his own traps. 

He cooked them and picked the meat, so all I had to do was warm it through in the sauce. It too was beautiful and sweet so I'm not going to be bossy about what variety of crab to use. Well, maybe not canned in this one...

Use a thin pasta or angel hair if you can. And don't skip the lemon zest!

Chilli Crab Spaghetti
Feeds 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 to 3 Birdseye chillies, finely chopped, depending on desired heat
12 cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups tomato passata 
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
Packet of dried angel hair spaghetti
250g fresh raw or cooked and picked crab meat
Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
Zest of half a lemon

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy based frypan over medium heat. Add garlic and chillies and fry until fragrant. Add the chopped cherry tomatoes and white wine. Simmer for about a minute, then add the passata, oregano and a good grind of salt and pepper. Leave sauce to simmer slowly while you prepare the pasta.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Season with a pinch of salt, then add your spaghetti. Cook  according to packet until al-dente. When the pasta is almost ready, add crab meat to the tomato sauce. If using raw crab meat, stir gently for about three to five minutes until cooked through. If using cooked crab meat, place the crab meat in the sauce only to warm it through (about two minutes).
Drain pasta and place in the pan of tomato crab sauce. Gently combine the two using tongs or pasta servers. Transfer to a large serving bowl or platter. Scatter with lemon zest and torn basil leaves and take to the table. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad.


Popular Posts