Really good, beautiful crabmeat isn’t cheap these days – but this crab linguine recipe is super-quick to put together, and the results are exciting, delicious, comforting and a bit posh all at the same time. And actually, I quite like having a posh meal like crab linguine but sitting on the sofa in my jogging bottoms to eat it, especially if there’s a football game on. When buying shellfish such as crab or lobster, it’s important to have a conversation with your fishmonger in advance to determine the best day to buy it, so you’re getting it in mint condition and know that you’ll get maximum flavour from its fresh meat. You can make crab linguine with fresh or dried pasta, so if using fresh Royal pasta dough, cut the sheets into linguine, then dry for an hour before cooking so it’s more al dente.
320g dried linguine
300 g white crabmeat
1 bulb of fennel
1–2 fresh red chillies
1 heaped tablespoon brown crabmeat
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 handful of herby fennel tops, or fresh baby basil leaves
Place the white crabmeat in a large bowl, then tear over any fennel tops from the bulb. Trim the base of the bulb and remove the outside layer if it’s got any blemishes, then, using the coarse side of a box grater, grate the bulb into the bowl with the crab. Using the fine side of the grater, add just the yellow zest from ½ a lemon to the bowl. Deseed and very finely chop the chillies, then add half to the crab, reserving the rest for sprinkling later. To make the dressing, mix the brown crabmeat, the juice of both lemons and the oil together with a little splash of water. Mix with the white crabmeat and season to taste, if needed.
Put a large pan of salted water onto boil for the pasta. Transfer the dressed crabmeat to a large pan on a low heat to gently warm through, while you cook the pasta. If you’ve made fresh, the pasta will only take 2 minutes to cook – if you’re using dried, simply cook according to packet instructions, but obviously don’t put the crab on the heat until halfway through. Meanwhile, pick your fennel herbs or basil leaves.
Drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of cooking water, then toss the pasta through the sauce, adding half the picked herbs and loosening with a splash of reserved water, if needed. Divide between four warm bowls, sprinkle over the remaining chilli and fennel or basil leaves, and serve. I love crab linguine with a nice, cold glass of Soave (an Italian wine produced near where I live) or Riesling.