Dungeness crab is king of quick pasta creation

DINNER TONIGHT

October 04, 2006|By Bill Daley | Bill Daley,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Crab is king in San Francisco, where hungry residents wait impatiently for the start of Dungeness crab season every fall. The sweet, clean flavor of just-caught local crab is a thing to be savored. A favorite presentation found at the city's Vietnamese restaurants is roasted crab served in the shell atop an aromatic pillow of garlicky noodles. The dish serves as inspiration for this quicker, simpler dish. Dungeness works great here, of course, but equally good results can be had with other crab varieties. Buy what's best and at the best price. (I bought frozen, shell-on king crab legs marked down nearly 50 percent at my local supermarket. Nothing sweeter than a bargain!)

Bill Daley writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe analysis

Menu suggestion

Garlicky crab with pasta, green bean salad, Italian bread, strawberry sorbet

Garlicky crab with pasta

Serves 4

1 1/2 to 2 pounds frozen king crab legs

1 pound spaghetti

1/2 stick ( 1/4 cup) butter

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Heat a large stockpot of salted water to a boil over high heat; add crab legs; cover. Cook until crab is cooked through, 6 minutes; transfer crab to a colander. Add spaghetti to the crab water; cook according to package directions. Drain; keep warm. Meanwhile, crack crab legs into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet or wok. Add garlic; cook, stirring, until slightly browned and aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add crab legs and parsley to skillet; toss to coat the shells and the meat with the hot butter and garlic. Transfer to a plate; set aside.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add cooked pasta, tossing until well coated. Transfer pasta to a platter; top with reserved crab.

Per serving: 627 calories, 15 grams fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 75 milligrams cholesterol, 87 grams carbohydrates, 33 grams protein, 998 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber

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