Spicy Crab Pasta with White Wine Sauce
March 9th is National Crab Meat Day, whether you spell crabmeat as two words or one. If you ask most people to name a favorite crab recipe, crab cakes might top the list, followed by crab salad, crab sushi, she-crab soup (a Southern specialty), and maybe the ignominious* Crab Rangoon. Only your grandmother might remember Crab Louie†.
Today, we have something much more contemporary: spicy linguine with crab and Calabrian chiles. (You can use any shape of pasta that you like.)
Inspired by the bold and spicy flavors of Southern Italian cuisine, this garlicky chile and crab pasta is easy to make. Thanks to DeLallo for the recipe.
> Chile history.
If you can’t find Calabrian chiles, substitute red pepper flakes.
While jumbo lump crabmeat is the best looking, it is also the most expensive.
If you’re making this recipe for a family dinner, you can save money by purchasing a less expensive grade of crabmeat—lump/backfin, white, or claw crabmeat.
1. BRING 5 quarts of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of hot pasta water. Meanwhile…
2. HEAT the extra light olive oil and Calabrian pepper oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chiles and garlic and cook until soft and the garlic is a pale golden color, about 5 minutes. Remove the garlic and discard.
3. ADD the wine and lemon juice and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the crab and cook until just heated through, about 1 minute.
4. ADD the pasta and some of the reserved pasta water to the pan and cook for another minute. Stir in the parsley, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
5. DIVIDE onto plates or serve family style.
*Crab rangoon is on our “ignominious list” because it’s a faux Polynesian dish invented at a bar in San Francisco. It consists of dumplings stuffed with crabmeat, garlic, scallions, and cream cheese. Then, the dumplings are deep-fried! It’s often served with sweet chili sauce. It was on the menu at Trader Vic’s in California since 1956 [source]. In our opinion, this dish should have gone out with the 1960s.
†Crab Louie is an American salad dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. It was once called the King of Salads. The creator is not known, but it was being served at Solari’s restaurant in San Francisco as early as 1914. The local Dungeness crabmeat topped a salad of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, asparagus, hard-boiled eggs, and Louie dressing, a Russian-style dressing made with chili sauce and mayonnaise. Some recipes add olives, scallions, and bell peppers.
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