Pasta in Black and White

As we mentally get ready for our upcoming trip to Sicily, I am making Sicilian dishes to prepare our palates for the great things to come.

Today's recipe - Spaghetti Neri con Polpa di Granchio (squid ink spaghetti with crab) - really has us in the mood.

This combination of briny pasta with sweet crab, white wine, and a hint of heat is a great summer dish. If you close your eyes while eating it, you can easily imagine you are at the water's edge.

The squid ink pasta may be hard to find, so you can just use regular spaghetti. If you want to make it yourself, I posted a recipe HERE several years ago. Don't skimp on the crab, though; get the best available to you.

Fresh crab is the ultimate, but not everybody has access to that, especially those of us in the desert. If you look, though, and shop carefully, you can find high quality fresh canned crab meat. Fresh canned? Isn't that an oxymoron? Pretty much, but you know what I mean...

I popped over the border into France to find a great wine pairing for this pasta - a Costière di Nîmes white from Mas Carlot. It is a blend of Roussanne, Marsanne, and Viognier, and is a perfect blend for seafood dishes. Head over to the Provence WineZine to read more.

Remember: Bonu vinu fa bonu sangu! (Good wine makes good blood!)

~ David
Spaghetti alla Seppia con Polpa di Granchio

12 ounces fresh squid ink pasta, or dried (see note)
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 large shallot, minced

red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 pound lump crab meat
1/2 cup white wine, plus more as needed
4 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt liberally when boiling. If you are using fresh pasta, it will cook in about 2 minutes. If using dried, follow the instructions on the package.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the shallot with the red pepper flakes until the shallot is soft and clear. Do not brown.

Add the crab and wine and cook gently, trying not to break up the crab pieces too much, until sauce has reduce and has a silky texture. Stir in the parsley, then remove from the heat until pasta is ready.

When pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid and then add drained pasta to the skillet. Toss gently with the crab mixture, adding a few splashes of pasta water until the consistency is right for you. Season with freshly ground black pepper. (I didn't add any salt, as the pasta water and the crab both season the sauce perfectly.)

Divide the spaghetti between three or four bowls, topping with the crab and drizzling with the sauce. Finish with a drizzle of your best olive oil.

Serves 3-4.

Note: recipe for squid ink pasta can be found HERE

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