Linguine with Crab Sauce


There are times when I get tired of eating meat and really crave a good dish of pasta.  This is one of my favorite pasta dishes to make.  This savory crab sauce is made with tomatoes, red wine, garlic, parsley, rosemary, and oregano.  This is really a simple dish to make but if you go a step further and use real crab legs, the sauce will be more flavorful.  I discovered that adding some of the crab leg shells to the sauce, makes for a more of intense crab flavor.

Pasta cu Granciu/ Pasta al Granchio

Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 4 servings.

1/2 – 3/4 pounds king crab legs or 1 1/4 cups crab meat
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (San Marzano preferably)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley,
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)
3/4 to 1 cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pound linguine pasta
Minced fresh Italian parsley for garnish

Break the crab legs into pieces at the joints. Using kitchen shears, cut the shell of piece lengthwise, crack open to remove the meat.  You should have approximately 1 1/4 cups of crab meat.  Reserve a few pieces of the crab leg shells to give added flavor to the sauce (this is optional).

Heat olive oil in a 3-quart covered sauté pan, over medium-high heat.  Add onion and sauté until translucent and golden in color, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for a minute or two longer.

Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, parsley, rosemary, oregano, red pepper, and 1/2 cup of water. Add the crab leg shells.  Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in enough of the remaining water until you have the desired consistency.  The sauce should not be very thick.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in the sugar and taste the sauce for acidity.  If it seems acidic, add a little more sugar until the sauce seems balanced but not sweet.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, bring 4-5 quarts salted water to boil in a large covered pot.

Using a pair of tongs, remove the crab shells from the sauce.  Stir in the crab meat.  Simmer covered for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil to the boiling water.  Stir in pasta and cook until al dente or cook according to package directions.  Drain pasta.

Serve pasta topped with crab sauce and an additional sprinkling of chopped parsley on top.

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