This nose-to-tail approach to crab pasta uses the brown meat as well as the white flesh and claws to pack a serious flavour punch. Use the freshest crabs you can lay your hands on - you'll be able to taste the difference.
- 250 g linguine
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra, for drizzling
- 2 uncooked blue swimmer crabs
- 2 French shallots
- 3 garlic cloves
- 6 cherry tomatoes left whole.
- 50 ml white wine
- 40 g (¼ cup) fresh podded raw peas
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fennel fronds, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Fill 2 large saucepan three-quarters with water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil over high heat. Cook the pasta in one pan of boiling water as per the packet instructions. Once cooked to al dente, strain the pasta from the water, toss with a drizzle of olive oil and set aside.
Meanwhile, pull the top shells off the crabs and spoon out any of the brown meat into a separate bowl. Place the crabs in the second pan of boiling water, return to the boil and cook for 6 minutes or until the flesh is cooked. Remove the crabs from the water and place in a large bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process. Reserve 100 ml of cooking water and set aside. This is your crab stock. Once the crabs have cooled, reserve a couple of crab legs to garnish each plate, then use a crab picker to remove the meat from the rest of the crab, making sure you remove any tiny bits of shell.
Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium high heat. Add the shallots, garlic and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the brown crab meat, white wine and crab stock. Simmer until the mixture has reduced by two-thirds and has thickened. Transfer the mixture to a blender and process until smooth. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into the same pan. Add the crab meat, pasta and peas, then season to taste with pepper and lemon juice. Serve immediately, scattered with fennel fronds, if using.