Known as Sardinia's gnocchi, malloreddus are a small pasta perfect for soaking up flavour as they do with this fresh crab cooked in a salty lemon butter.






Skill level

Average: 5 (4 votes)


  • drizzle of vegetable oil
  • 1 French shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500 ml (2 cups) crab/seafood stock or kombu stock
  • 250 g raw spanner crab meat
  • 400 g malloreddus or any short pasta
  • salt, to season
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • large pinch finely ground dried wakame, to serve

Preserved lemon butter

  • 250 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 piece preserved lemon, pith discarded, skin finely chopped
  • ½ tsp dashi powder
  • ½ tsp white soy sauce
  • ½ tsp mirin

Cook's notes

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.


  1. For the preserved lemon butter, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat until smooth and creamy, then add the remaining ingredients and combine well.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.
  3. Heat a drizzle of oil in large, heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until soft and lightly coloured. Add the crab stock, crab meat and the preserved lemon butter. Stir to break the crab meat up a little and bring to the boil. Simmer until the butter emulsifies into the sauce, reducing the heat as it begins to thicken. It should be nice and shiny and not split.
  4. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain. You want to have your pasta and sauce ready at the same time.
  5. Add the pasta and toss together well. If the sauce is too tight, add a little more stock. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice to taste at the last minute and check the seasoning, adding a little salt if needed.
  6. Serve immediately, dusted with a little dried wakame powder.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.