6 oz (160 g) spaghetti or linguine pasta
2 qt water
1 tablespoon (20 g) kosher salt
1 whole blue crab (follow instructions below on how to deshell)
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 whole dried chili pepper, seeded
1 tablespoon brandy
2 tablespoons white wine
½ cup (100 g) tomato puree
⅕ cup (50 ml) heavy cream
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Cook pasta for 1 minute less than the suggested cooking time. Reserve ½ cup (100 ml) of pasta water.
Preheat the pan over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds. Add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and spread evenly. Once the oil starts to smoke from the entire surface of the pan, add the crab shell and cook for about 1 minute. Once bright orange, remove from the pan.
In the same pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and bring down to medium heat. Add in garlic, chili pepper, and the body of the crab and sauté for about 3 minutes. Once excess liquid starts to get cooked off and makes a crackling sound, add in brandy and white wine and bring to a simmer. Add in tomato puree and pasta water and stir. Cover with lid and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. Add in heavy cream and crab innards, lightly stir and turn off the heat.
Once pasta has finished cooking, drain with a colander. Bring heat up to medium-high and bring sauce to a simmer. Add in pasta and cook for about 1 minute while stirring to coat with sauce. Turn off the heat and transfer to a plate. Garnish with the crab shell and serve.
Remove the shell from the body and take out the innards with a spoon.
Remove the lungs and mouth under the eyes by hand.
Cut the legs into 8 equal pieces.
Gently pound the legs with the back of a knife and make a small incision in each claw. This will help extract more of the crab‘s flavor. Wash the shell clean to use as garnish.
A thicker pasta, such as linguine, will complement the umami-packed sauce.
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