Minestrone with crab

Minestrone with crab

Nuovo Mondo
Alan Benson

This is a flamboyant dish and can be complex to cook, but the result is fascinating and tasty. Tubetti rigati are short ribbed tubes of pasta, fantastic for soups – if unavailable, substitute any small pasta such as risoni or macaroni.


Quantity Ingredient
4 whole blue-swimmer crabs
1 cup mixed chopped vegetables, such as carrots, celery, capsicum and potatoes, cut into 5 mm dice
olive oil, for cooking
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 dried chilli, chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 celery, roughly chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
250ml white wine
250ml Napoli sauce
2 litres Fish stock
45g tubetti rigati
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


  1. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the crabs, cook for 6–8 minutes and then remove the crabs, reserving the cooking water. When cool, pick all the meat from the crabs, reserve the shells. Place the meat on a tray and gently go through it with your fingers to remove any shell or cartilage.
  2. Add the vegetables to the saucepan of water and blanch them for about 2 minutes. Strain and set aside until needed.
  3. Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the fennel seeds, chilli, onion, garlic, celery and fennel. Cook until soft, then add the wine – allow to evaporate, then add the napoli sauce. Finally, add the fish stock and the reserved crab shells (at this point, if you have them, you may also add prawn heads, pieces of fish, fish bones, etc. to add more flavour to the sauce). Stir to combine and allow to reduce a little. Remove from the heat and strain the soup through a fine sieve – you should get a nice quantity of dark, rich, thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and keep warm.
  4. Cook the tubetti rigati in a saucepan of salted boiling water according to the packet directions.
  5. Divide the crab, diced vegetables and pasta between warm serving bowls. Ladle a sufficient amount of the sauce over to cover. Finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. In daylight, this soup should look dazzling and taste very good. Leftover sauce is very good served simply with bread.
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