Sunday, 14 October 2012

Chilli Crab Linguine

Judging from the amount of Seafood recipes I post I'm sure you can all gather by now that I'm a seafood addict. When the summer months creep in, there isn't an excuse I cannot find to buy a huge whole crab. My local market has an amazing fish monger called Ian Thomsen who sells the best quality crabs I have ever tasted. I like to dress my own crab, but if you are not feeling very brave by all means buy a dressed crab, but it's not as hard as you think, grab a good hammer and channel your aggression on the Crab. Usually I'm a total purist when it comes to crab meat, the less done the better, but with this particular recipe I can make allowances. In this case I feel that the chilli brings out the sweetness of the crab, the amount used is not an aggressive wave of heat, more a gently kiss of spice on your tonsils. 
 I did make my own pasta for this recipe, I think a crab of such supreme quality deserves to be respectfully paired with good hand made pasta. I know that you can get very good packet pasta these days, but handmade cannot be beaten, give it a try it's not as tricky as you think, and very worth the effort.

This recipes serves 4 people or 2 very    greedy people
For the sauce
You will need:
300g of white crab meat
3 tbsp of brown crab meat
75g of salted butter
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp of lemon zest
50g of chopped garlic
1 tablespoon of deseeded chilli
1 tsp of dried chilli flakes
100g of  chopped fresh cherry tomatoes
100ml of double cream
1 tablespoon of chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon of chopped chives
1 tablespoon of torn basil leaves
1 tsp of fresh oregano
1/4 tsp of black pepper
100ml of dry white wine (if you're not drinking it, don't use it)
the juice of a quarter of a lemon
1 tsp of maldon salt
1 tbsp of freshly shaved Parmesan
50ml of pasta water (save the water from boiling the pasta)
1/4 tsp of sugar

For the pasta:
200g of double zero flour
1/4 tsp of fine sea salt
6 large egg yolks
3 tsp of olive oil

  I start by making the pasta, the easiest way is to put it all into a food processor and mix it for 5 minutes, until the dough is soft and silky. If you do not have a food processor mix it by hand and knead the dough for at least 10 minutes until the dough is soft and pliable. Wrap the pasta and refrigerate for at least an hour. Take a small amount of dough and shape it into a rough rectangle. Using a well floured pasta machine set to one, roll the dough through the machine and each time you do it fold the pasta into three, in the same way you would fold a leaflet, do this three or four times and then begin to roll without folding decreasing the settings on the pasta machine, working from 1 to 7.
 When you can read a newspaper through the pasta dough (or in my case a lottery ticket) you are ready to cut the dough into linguine. Flour the pasta sheet and fold it over concertina style and finely chop the pasta into thin strips or little tongues as the italians would call it. Sprinkle a little more flour onto the pasta and toss the pasta until the strips have loosened. Cook for 2-3 minutes in heavily salted water, the trick is that you should always cook pasta is water as salty as the Mediterranean sea.
In a large sauce pan saute the garlic and chilli and dried chilli in the butter and olive oil until you can smell the garlic. Add the white wine, Oregano and lemon zest, cook for a further five minutes so that the alcohol burns off. Add the brown crab meat, cream, salt, pepper, sugar and cherry tomatoes. Once the pasta has cooked add the pasta to the sauce (always pasta to sauce, not sauce to pasta) toss until well coated. Add the 50ml of pasta water, Parsley, Basil, Chives and white crab meat, turn off the heat immediately. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and shavings of Parmesan. Pasta perfection.

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