The Happy Home Cook: Scampi and Crab Pasta

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Scampi and crab pasta

Scampi and crab pasta

Sometimes when perusing farmers markets or food stores, you can chance upon something so fresh and delectable that you just have to run home to cook it. Seasoned cooks know what to do, but for those less savvy in the kitchen, here's a simple pasta recipe that uses fresh snow crabs that I chanced upon one market day.


1 pound spaghetti/ linguini
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) for drizzling
2 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 bay leaf
2 large shitake mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced thinly
1/2 kilo (or 1 .25 pounds) fresh shrimp (if already peeled and deveined, then skip step B.1 below)
2 pcs medium blue crab (If using shelled blue crab which we usually find in the fresh seafood section, skip A.1 below) Note: You can also use any kind of crab in season.
Sea salt and black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 cup rice wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley or basil leaves


1. Boil a large pot of water, salt generously. Regular kosher big grained salt is great!

2. Cook until almost done, a little less than al dente, around 6-8 minutes, as it will later cook with the sauce. Drain, do not rinse.


A.1. Boil a large pot of water, add salt and 1 bay leaf.

Add 2 medium blue crabs. Cook for 5 minutes or until it turns red then quickly take out and cool. 2. Crack them open and take out the flesh. Try to keep the pincers’ for topping. Set aside.

B.1. Peel fresh shrimp, de-vein and season with salt and pepper, set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil on medium-high heat. Saute the shallots first then put in the garlic. Add chili flakes if you opt to, then add the shitake mushrooms.

3. Toss in the shrimps and cook for 3 minutes or until they turn pink. You want them pink and supple. If it goes hard then you’ve overcooked them. Take them out and set aside.

4. Add the rice wine and lemon juice, bring to a boil.

5. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, bring to a boil.

6. When the butter has melted and the smell of alcohol has evaporated, bring back the shrimp and the pasta. Toss quickly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the flaked crab and parsley. One last spin and serve quickly. Drizzle some EVOO when served.

Bernie Cervantes

Bernie Cervantes

Bernie Cervantes is a documentary photographer, former restaurateur and chef, forced to retire by cartilage cancer. She is now continuously healing, having recovered her capacity to walk, though with canes and braces, and her ability to smell. She's recovering nicely in Thailand.