Black linguine with crab

Black linguine with crab

Linguine al nero di seppia con granchio

Helen Cathcart

Huge spider crabs are eaten as crab salad or tossed with pasta and often served in their shells. These crabs can also be found off UK shores but we don’t have a history of eating them so they are sold abroad, which is a huge shame. Their legs have an enormous amount of white, sweet meat in them. We love the crab with fresh white tagliolini served at the restaurant Antiche Carampane. Fresh pasta this thin is hard to cook perfectly so we have given the option for using dried black or white pasta. The Venetians are not big on chilli, so add or leave out as you please.

Depending on whether you buy cooked crabs, their size and sex, or use pots of crabmeat you will have differing amounts of white and brown meat. Always use more white crabmeat at the end of cooking and the stronger tasting brown crabmeat in smaller amounts at the beginning. If there is red coral in the crabs, add a little of this at the end for decoration. Most Venetian kitchens have at least three types of peppercorns; my favourite with this dish is a little crushed Szechuan at the end. As chilli strength varies from chilli to chilli either add a little or a whole one. You have to be brave and taste to know!


Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
2 shallots, finely chopped
or 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2-1 red fresh or dried chilli, finely chopped, to taste
2 crabs, cooked
or 100g brown crabmeat, mixed with 300 g white crabmeat
black or szechuan pepper, freshly ground
320g fresh black or white tagliolini
or 320g dried black or white linguine
100ml prosecco
or 100ml white wine


  1. Bring a large saucepan of well-salted water to the boil. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the shallots and garlic over a low heat until softened. Add the chilli and brown crabmeat and stir through. Turn up the heat and pour in the Prosecco, allow it to evaporate until the strong smell of alcohol has gone. Taste and season the sauce. Remove from the heat and set aside. Cook the pasta until just al dente. Take a few tablespoons of water from the pasta saucepan and add it to the frying pan. Drain the pasta and put this in too. Add the white crabmeat and parsley and toss or stir through briefly. Taste once more and season further if necessary. Drizzle with your finest olive oil and serve.
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