While my mom was in town for Nolan’s birthday, my aunt and uncle invited us to stay the night at the beach house they have spent the past five years renovating in Rockaway Beach. Jeremy stayed behind and had some much-needed baby-free time, I got to go farther away from Salem than I have in well over a year, and Nolan got to spend the night away from home for the first time. My aunt and uncle have a crabbing license, so they hauled out their crab pot and we took a stab at catching some fresh Dungeness. The tides weren’t with us, and it was a little cool out for the baby, so we only spent 45 minutes or so at it. In the end, we purchased two freshly caught crabs from a fishmonger at the beach, and shared half a crab cracked and dipped in butter. Nolan, the boy who ate everything, liked it almost as much as his great-aunt Stacy’s home-canned pears. The rest of the crab came home with me, and I used it in a quick, creamy pasta dish made with leftover spinach lasagna noodles.

I highly recommend having a crab cracker to shell your Dungeness crab if you don’t buy it in lump form. (Mine is called Jeremy.) Once the crab was de-shelled, this meal came together in a flash since most of it was already cooked. I had tons of lasagna noodles left from my Daring Bakers challenge, even after eating some of them for lunches simply dressed with leftover ragu and Parmesan. For this dish, I just ran a knife through them to make ribbons that I would call maltagliatelle—they were pretty ugly looking. (Real maltagliatelle is sort of triangular in shape, but it means bady cut pasta.) The original recipe called for shallot and dill, which I didn’t have on hand, but it sounds lovely.

Creamy Crab Pasta

1 lb fresh spinach pasta, cut into tagliatelle
1/2 lb lump dungeness crabmeat
1/4 C shallot, minced (I substituted onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 T butter
2 C heavy whipping cream
1/4 C white wine
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly grated
1 pinch cayenne
Fresh dill weed, chopped
1/4 C parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Cook the pasta just until done in salted water (if fresh, it should only take a few minutes), then drain and set aside. (Mine was cooked previously for the lasagna, so I just removed it from the fridge and cut it in ribbons.)

Saute the shallots (or onion) and garlic in the butter over med-low heat until softened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Increase heat to high and add the heavy cream and boil to reduce for 1 minute. Add the white wine, sugar, salt and pepper, and pinch of cayenne and reduce heat to low heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes more.

Add the crabmeat, pasta, and Parmesan cheese and gently toss together until the noodles and crab warm up and marry with the sauce. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with fresh dill and extra Parmesan.

Source: Adapted from RecipeZaar.

(Nolan’s first visit to the beach. In true Oregon fashion, it was cool and misting, but he fell asleep in the stroller before we even got there.)

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