Spaghetti with Crab

Nina Compton, of Top Chef fame and chef at the new Old No. 77 hotel in New Orleans, tosses her bright, lemony pasta with pine nuts and jumbo lump crab, but she sometimes swaps in fresh lobster meat or local Louisiana shrimp. Slideshow:  More Spaghetti Recipes 

Total Time:
45 mins


  • 12 ounces spaghetti 

  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

  • 1/2 cup panko

  • Salt

  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish

  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups clam juice or fish stock

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

  • 1/2 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over 


  1. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain the pasta well, then toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Wipe out the saucepan.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a work surface and chop.

  3. In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the panko and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and season with salt.

  4. In the large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the 6 sliced scallions, the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the garlic is softened, about 3 minutes. Add the clam juice and bring to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until most of the clam juice has been absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the parsley, lemon zest, pine nuts and remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt. Toss well. Gently fold in the crabmeat. Transfer the pasta to shallow bowls and garnish with the panko and scallions.

Suggested Pairing

Muscadet, from the Loire’s west coast, has a salty, lemony edge that makes it a wonderful match for seafood dishes like this crab pasta.

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