Last Updated on November 3, 2021
Skip straight to my Crab Claw recipe for crab, cheese and parsley pasta
My crab claws come from the crab which is most common here in the UK, the brown crab. When I’m lucky, Potter Street Fishmongers at my local Farmers’ market sells them for £1.50 a claw. They are already cooked, so sometimes I just pick them and use the meat for a sandwich with a bit of mayonnaise and salad leaves. But, for a crab claw recipe like this, using pasta and cheese, or for a rice-based dish like risotto, you only need one or two claws per person which makes it a very cheap supper dish. Of course, any Italian would tell you that this recipe is just wrong – mixing cheese with seafood or fish is just not the Italian way. But, although the technique is based on pasta cacio et pepe, this recipe makes no pretence to be authentic. Who cares though, when you end up with a delicious quick and easy supper!
You do need crab crackers or a small hammer to get the crab meat out from the claws.
If you can’t get hold of crab claws, you can of course use any white crab meat. Even canned meat will work well in this dish. For two people 70g or so of crab meat is plenty and you’ll need around 140g of pasta of your choice (I’m using linguine here). The other key ingredients are a handful of fresh parsley, 50g of parmesan or pecorino and freshly ground black pepper.
Start by bringing a pan of salted water to a rolling boil and cook your pasta according to the packet instructions till al-dente. Don’t overcook it at this stage because it will carry on cooking in the broth for around 5 minutes. Meanwhile, crack and pick your crab claws and set the meat to one side. Chop half the parsley finely and pick the leaves from the remaining stalks to use as a garnish. Grate the cheese finely and mix it with a tablespoon of water to make a thin slurry-like paste.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a deep skillet or saute pan and once it’s warm, add about 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper. Continue to cook very gently for a few minutes to release the flavour from the pepper.
Drain the pasta and reserve half a cup of the cooking liquid. Tip the pasta along with the cooking liquid carefully into the pan with the reserved cooking liquid and cook gently for a couple of minutes stirring to mix through the pepper and oil. Now tip in the cheese slurry and continue to cook gently, stirring until the sauce thickens a bit.
Finally stir through the crab and chopped parsley and cook for just long enough to warm the crab through.
Serve garnished with the reserved parsley leaves and more parmesan if you like.
It’s a lovely, light supper dish. If you wanted to add more vegetables, you could stir through some rocket or start by sauteing a little fennel with the pepper at the start. Just don’t mention to an Italian that you are enjoying seafood pasta with cheese!
Here’s a printable recipe for you if you’d like to try this at home.
Crab Claw Linguine with Cheese and Parsley
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 140 grams dried pasta of your choice - ideally linguine or spaghetti
- 50 grams parmesan or pecorino cheese
- 70 grams cooked crab claw meat
- 1 handful fresh flat leaf parsley
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- salt and pepper to season
- Pick the meat from the crab claws and set to one side
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil and salt well
- Add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions until al-dente
- Meanwhile, grate the cheese and finely chop half of the parsley
- Mix the cheese with a tablespoon of luke warm water to make a thick slurry or paste
- Heat the oil in a deep skillet or saute pan
- Add the pepper and heat gently for a minute or two
- Drain the pasta, reserving half a cup of cooking liquid
- Tip the pasta into the skillet along with the cooking liquid and stir to combine with the oil and pepper.
- Add the cheese mixture and keep stirring over a low heat till the sauce thickens
- Stir through the chopped parsley and the crab and cook for a further minute
- Check and adjust the seasoning, adding salt and more pepper to taste
- Serve garnished with the remaining parsley leaves and more cheese if you like
Looking for a different seafood pasta recipe? Try our delicious Prawn and Chorizo Linguine