Crab and chilli linguine

Matt Tebbutt makes the most of a whole crab for his pasta dish, coloured with flecks of chilli
By Matt Tebbutt
Crab and chilli linguine
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 75 g chopped shallots
  • 50 g chopped fennel, bulb
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 50 ml vermouth
  • 150 ml white wine
  • pinch saffron
  • 500 g brown and white crab meat, from 2 large spider crabs
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 kg ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and roughly chopped or 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1-2 small red chilli, seeds removed and finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives, (optional)
  • 500 g linguine


1. In a large heavy-based saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and fennel and cook gently for 3-5 minutes until they are soft and transparent. Do not allow them to colour.

2. Add 2 cloves of the chopped garlic, the vermouth, white wine, saffron and brown meat. Stir to combine. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The bones will begin to soften and can be crushed in.

3. Stir in the parsley and tomatoes and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and cook for 30-45 minutes or until the sauce has begun to thicken to your desired consistency. Pass through a fine sieve to remove the shells and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

4. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the linguine and cook until just al dente for about 8 minutes. While the linguine is cooking, finish preparing the sauce.

5. In another large, clean pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sweat the remaining garlic until softened, then add the red chilli. (Check the chilli for heat and use sparingly.)

6. Stir in the strained tomato sauce before the garlic takes colour. Simmer for 56 minutes, until soft and pulpy, then add the white crab meat and heat through. Adjust the seasoning, adding more chilli if you like. Stir in the chopped chives, if using.

7. To serve, drain the linguine and stir through the crab sauce.

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