This pasta recipe is inspired by a dish Stefano Manfredi cooked with yabbies at Manta in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, and will work equally well with any crustacean. For best results, use pasta made with eggs (all’uovo).
6 green Balmain bugs (see notes)
250 g fettuccine
100 g butter
2 golden shallots, finely diced
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 cup chopped chervil
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
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.
Drop the chilled bugs in a large saucepan of well-salted, rapidly boiling water. Cook for 5 minutes. Strain and run under cold water to arrest cooking.
Rinse and refill saucepan, salt well, place over high heat and bring to the boil. When water is boiling, add the fettuccine and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, turn bugs over and cut down either side of the underside of the tail shell using kitchen scissors. Peel shell back and remove meat. Slice in half and remove the digestive tract (grey thread) running down the middle of the tail meat. Cut meat into bite-sized chunks.
Melt butter in a frying pan. When foaming, add the shallots and sesame seeds, and cook, over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until shallots are soft but not coloured. Add bug meat to the pan and stir well.
Drain the cooked pasta, and add to the pan with the chervil. Toss well to coat in butter. Taste, season with salt and pepper, and serve in warmed bowls.
Notes: If bugs are live, chill them in the freezer for 30-45 minutes to kill them before cooking (see www.rspca.org.au for more details).
Alternative species you could use in this recipe: marron, Moreton Bay bug, prawns, redclaw, rocklobsters, scampi, yabby.