I always like to buy fresh crabmeat when I am by the coast in the UK or Italy. The combination of a little dark meat with the white is superb and gives a richer texture and fuller flavour than the white alone. The strength of the crab can then take the kick of chilli as well as the mellowing effect of the cream. Serve this sauce with dried pasta such as linguine or with fresh tagliatelle.
Serves 4 as a main / 6 as a starter
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
100g brown crabmeat and 300g white crabmeat
100ml prosecco or white wine
4 tbsp double (heavy) cream
320g dried linguine
For the battuto
large handful of parsley, roughly chopped, plus 2 tbsp finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
fresh red chilli, finely chopped, to taste, or ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make a battuto with the 2 tbsp of parsley, the garlic, chilli, and a pinch of salt and pepper by finely chopping them together on a board with a sharp knife.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a low heat and fry the battuto for?3 minutes, until the garlic just starts to soften but doesn’t burn. Add the cherry tomatoes and crabmeat and fry for a couple of minutes. Increase the heat and pour in the prosecco or white wine and allow it to evaporate for a few minutes until the strong smell of alcohol has gone. Pour in the cream and shake the pan to blend it into the sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Cook the pasta until just al dente. Take 2 tbsp of water from the pasta saucepan and add it to the sauce in the frying pan. Drain the pasta and put this in too. Add the remaining parsley and toss or stir through briefly. Serve straightaway in warmed bowls.
Extracted from Tuscany by Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi (Hardie Grant, approx €28). Photography by Helen Cathcart.