Spaghetti with crabs

Spaghetti con i granchi

I admit it. It doesn’t take much to plant an idea in my head. Sometimes this is a good thing; sometimes not.

When a friend reported that a local fishmonger had blue claw crabs in, I didn’t give it much thought. Instead, I started thinking ahead to when the softshells become available.  Then the friend lightly chastised for passing up the seasonal pleasure of blue crabs and I redirected my thoughts.  “What about spaghetti with crabs?”

So, off to the market I went to fetch four nice “jimmies” (male crabs) to toss into the sauce for tonight’s pasta.

Spaghetti with crabs

(spaghetti con i granchi)

  • 3 or 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled, smashed and chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp (or more to taste) red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbs chopped, fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 28 ounce can of crushed, italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 live blue crabs
  • 1 pound thick spaghetti
  • optional any fresh or dried herbs you like in your “gravy” (oregano, basil, thyme)

Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large pan over medium heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the garlic and stir until it just starts to show some color (1 to 2 minutes). Add red pepper flakes and stir. Add tomatoes and parsley. Rinse tomato can with white wine and add wine to pot. Stir and let come to a simmer. Toss the crabs into the sauce, stir, gently and let the pot come to a boil. Reduce heat and let sauce sit at a slow simmer until the crabs turn red (30 – 45 minutes).

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, salt it and cook the pasta per package instructions so it is al dente and ready to go when the sauce is ready.

Pull the crabs from the sauce and set aside in a bowl. Cover to keep warm.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce pot. Toss. Serve. (Note: as a rule, Italian do NOT use grated cheese with seafood pastas. Try some fresh ground black pepper instead).

The crabs can be picked of their meat as a second course.

Serve with a salad, some bread and more wine and you’ve got a nice meal for four.


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