Crab gravy, crab sauce, crabs and spaghetti, crabs and macaroni…..no matter what you call it, we can all agree, it’s delicious.
I had a craving to make this today and my wonderful husband happily went to the market this morning to find me crabs. I was so happy he came home with them because we don’t have a seafood place close by so we had to hope the Italian market had them in today.
This isn’t something I make often. In fact, this is only the second time in my 25 years of cooking that I have. It’s probably more like 30 years, but who’s counting. I figured I’d make it like I make my meat sauce, so it was a kind of make-it-up-as-I-go type of recipe. I will try to be as accurate as possible with the ingredients and process.
Here we go.
- 6 blue crabs, uncooked
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 of a large onion, chopped
- olive oil
- red pepper flakes
- 1 8oz can of tomato paste
- white wine
- 2 cans crushed tomatoes
- fresh basil leaves, chopped or chiffonade
- kosher salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 lb of spaghetti or long pasta of your choice
In a large, heavy pot, heat about 1/4 cup of olive oil and add 3 cloves of minced garlic and, if you wish, some red pepper flakes. We like it spicy. Get that going a bit and be careful to not burn the garlic. Once fragrant, add about half of the crabs until they turn red, flip and cook until red on the other side. Season with some salt while they cook. Remove from the pot and add the remainder. When they are cooked, remove and set aside Do not let anyone eat them! They WILL try.
If your garlic burned, like mine did, toss it. Burnt garlic will ruin your sauce. Begin with some fresh oil and heat it up. Add your chopped onion, the remaining minced garlic, more red pepper flakes and begin to saute until soft. Add some salt while you saute. I like to salt every layer of my dishes because salt makes everything better. Once soft, add the can of tomato paste and mix in.
Add about 1/4 cup of the wine to the tomato paste and stir well. Cook down for about 5 minutes.
To the tomato paste mixture, carefully pour in the two cans of crushed tomatoes. You will want to add some water to thin it out so fill each can about a quarter of the way full, stir to combine leftover tomatoes and pour into the pot. Add about another 1/4 cup of wine, season with salt and black pepper and add the basil. Stir and bring to a boil for about three minutes. Lower heat to simmering and carefully return the cooked crabs to the pot. Cover, lid slightly ajar, and cook, stirring frequently, for about two hours. If you notice the sauce is becoming too thick, add more water and fully cover with the lid until it thins out a bit. You don’t want it like ketchup but you don’t want it like soup either.
When the gravy/sauce is almost done cooking, you will want to cook your pasta according to package directions. Do not forget to salt your pasta water! There is nothing worse than unsalted, bland pasta to ruin all of your efforts. 🙂
Remove crabs from the pot and put on a plate. Drain pasta and place into a bowl and cover generously, or not so generously, with the sauce.
Serve, add some grated Locatelli cheese if you want…who cares what anyone says, and enjoy!
I know this is not exactly health food, but, it is good food! I had it in Italy and wanted to try it ever since we returned home. I found some techniques here and there and came up with this way of making it. Enjoy it and all its lovely fat it provides. After all, winter is coming. And, do not fear the raw eggs! It’s okay.
About 4 servings
- 4 ounces of pancetta (cured Italian bacon), diced
- 1 lb of spaghetti
- olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
- 4 egg yolks, plus 1 whole egg, beaten
- black pepper
Heat a large pot to boiling. Add a small amount of salt and begin to cook your spaghetti.
In a large saute pan heat olive oil. Enough to just coat the pan. When hot, add diced pancetta and cook until crisp. Not too crisp though. Just enough to have a little crunchy exterior and soft interior. About 15 minutes over medium-high heat.
Once it is done, drain off the fat. I did this because I thought there was enough fat already. Let’s save a few grams, shall we? I must’ve drained off a quarter cup. But this step is entirely up to you. Let it cool down for a few minutes.
While that is cooking, beat the four yolks and whole egg together in a bowl until well blended.
Mix in cheese and stir together very well, until completely incorporated. Season with freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Add the egg and cheese mixture to the pan with the pancetta and mix well. I added a couple spoonfuls of the cooking water to loosen it up.
At this point, the pasta should be finished cooking. When draining, do not drain it super dry. Leave some water so the sauce loosens a bit to coat the pasta. I actually pulled most of it out with my tongs. You may also want to keep some of the pasta water in case the sauce is too thick. You would add this a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
Once the pasta is drained, pour it into the pan with the sauce, mix well. Sprinkle some extra cheese on top if desired.