Loretta Sebastiani

Loretta Sebastiani
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Crab spaghetti
( Spaghetti al granchio)

Our original home cooking

Crab spaghetti are definitely a refined dish for special occasions. The recipe is laborious and the raw material is not always available especially for those who live far from the sea. Here I show you my recipe for crab sauce. You have only to choose the pasta you like. Even linguine or tagliatelle are special with crab sauce. The method is very similar to that one I use to make crab risotto. Link below!

difficulty: medium

time: 1 hour 30 minutes

calories: 447 (kCal)

Ingredients / Serves 4

  • 320g (11 1/3 ounces) spaghetti
  • 1 600g (1 1/3 pound) or 6 150 to 200g (5 1/3 to 7 ounces) raw crabs
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) fresh young onion
  • 200g (7 ounces) sweet olive tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons dried chives
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
medium difficulty
preparation: 45 minutes
plus cooling time

cooking: 45minutes
total: 1 hour 30 minutes
How many calories in a serving?
Calories: 447 (kcal) 23 % - 1869 (kJ)
Protein: 20.2 (g) 41 % GDA
Total fat: 11.7 (g) 17 % GDA
Total carbohydrate: 69.3 (g) 26 % GDA
Sugars: 9.4 (g) 11 % GDA

Download free PDF version (111 download).

Crab spaghetti recipe

Preparation and cooking

  • - Prepare crab broth.
    Cut out claws from two to three crabs and set aside.
    Chop half onion and put in a large saucepan with half olive oil.
    Add crabs, except the claws you've set aside.
    Let all fry slightly on very low heat, stirring now and then, until crab shells change their color.
    Cover with hot water and bring to a boil.
    Reduce heat and simmer, about 10 minutes.
    Let crabs cool in their water.
    Then remove them from broth and filter it.
  • - Clean crabs.
    Cut out claws and paws from crabs.
    Remove all the edible part from their inside using a teaspoon and recovering also the coral if you have one or more female. It is good and will make your dish spectacular!
    Do not use their gills which are those appendages that surround the entire outer edge.
    Remember to open well all shell because claws and paws continue even under the carapace and then you can find meat in that area too.
    Open paws and claws with a nutcracker and remove the inner meat, very tasty and not to be missed. Help yourself with a toothpick.
  • - Prepare pasta sauce in a non-stick saucepan.
    Chop onion.
    Wash tomatoes an cut them into two or three pieces.
    Transfer the claws you've put apart in the saucepan and let them fry slightly in remaining olive oil, on very low heat, turning them frequently. Continue cooking until prawns change their color. Remove them from the pan, put apart and add onion.
    Let it fry slightly.
    Stir in tomatoes and let flavor, stirring now and then.
    After some minutes add a ladle of hot crab broth and complete cooking.
  • - Cook pasta.
    Dilute broth with cold water, if necessary.
    Add salt only if necessary.
    Cook pasta al dente stage and drain but put apart some cooking broth. You might need it to dilute pasta sauce.
  • - Meanwhile ...
    ... open fried praws, remove meat and add it to pasta sauce.
    Just before draining pasta, turn on the stove under the pan with pasta sauce.

Just before serving

  • - Transfer drained pasta into the pan with sauce together with aromatics and crab meat.
    Flavor for a minute, on high heat, stirring with delicacy.
  • - Serve at once in individual plates.



crabs, partially cleaned and ready to cook
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Crabs, open and ready to cook
  • - I always prefer to work with not too big crabs. Obviously, there is the positive and negative side. A big crab (from 2.2 pounds) can be cleaned faster but it is cumbersome. Besides it may be difficult to find a fish shop where you can ask for preparing it in the way I'm going to explain. Generally, crabs are bought alive but, as I have written many times on the site, I have never found the courage to bring them home alive and kill them with the classic method of dipping them in hot boiling water or with a knife tucked beneath their carapace. So I prefer small-medium crabs that a fishmonger usually opens before my eyes, exposing their inside. Once home, I treat them as I have already described. You can see how they are prepared in the photo shown here.
  • - You can prepare crab spaghetti with canned crabmeat too. If you follow my method, you need fish broth to cook pasta and complete the cooking of pasta sauce. You can prepare a generic fish broth or boil the shell of other crustaceans you might use for other courses of your menu. It's exactly what I make when I'm not able to find alive crabs. To serve 4 people, you need 240g (8 1/2 ounces) crabmeat, well drained.
  • - Once I made frittata with some crab spaghetti left. It tasted fantastic!
  • - If you can use fresh aomatic herbs, your paghetti will be better.
  • - I always use sweet olive tomatoes that are little and tasty. If you use cherry tomatoes, you have to increase their amount to 300g (10 1/2 ounces).
  • - Preparation time is calculated working with fresh crabs.

Menu planning

  • - As I have just written, given the costs and laborious recipe, crab spaghetti is not a dish for your daily menu. On the contrary it's perfect for special occasions. Your dinner menu on Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve. Elegant dinners based on seafood provided spaghetti can be served with thoroughly cleaned crab, as you can see in the photo. Keep this in mind! And so for every occasion when you have to celebrate something special, and gather around your table fish lovers.
  • - You can combine your pasta with crab sauce with many other traditional dishes. Having a delicate taste, there is no problem to use other crustaceans, fish and shellfish as appetizer and ingredients for other courses. The only precaution is to avoid very strong tastes in previous courses.

Useful links for this recipe

Healthy eating

  • - I could not help but write these lines as I have suggested spaghetti with crab for your invitations or special occasions, then rare events. In any case it is interesting to note that a dish, well-balanced on ingredients, never represents a problem.
    Calories, fat and sugar increase with the quantity and you have to consider it with portions and condiments in a particular way.
  • - Fiber per serving: 3.6g


What's the right wine for " Crab spaghetti "?

My husband and I prefer Pinot Grigio of Lison Pramaggiore (Veneto) and in particular we like very much Pinot Grigio produced by Le Carline.