Crab cake spaghetti: Silky strands of spaghetti noodles tossed with jumbo lump crab meat, plenty of old bay seasoning, red pepper, panko breadcrumbs and onion.
Combining my love for crab cakes with my love for pasta was undoubtedly one of the best life decisions I made last week. Really.
I was teetering between sharing a classic crab cake recipe and another easy summer pasta like this Tomato and Ricotta Linguini, when I thought to myself, Why not combine the two and showcase something we’ve never seen here before?
And just as the name implies, this tastes JUST like a crab cake, but in pasta form, and gosh, I’m smitten.
For me, a classic crab cake of course, starts with good lump crab meat. Admittedly, it’s kind of pricey, however, six ounces of lump crab meat is plenty to mimic the crab cake taste without having to buy over a pound of crab meat for several cakes.
Long before we add the crab though, we start with the base. For me, this is plenty of finely diced onion, celery and red bell pepper sautéed in a touch of butter. I make sure to season with plenty of salt, and once all of the veggies are softened, but still have a slight bite to them, I pour in a generous amount of dry white wine.
Now, you don’t normally find white wine in a crab cake recipe, but I wanted to make sure there was a touch of moisture in the final product, plus white wine actually compliments the crab’s delicate flavor wonderfully. And I mean, finding an excuse to drink wine while cooking is always allowed.
Once the wine is reduced, the key ingredient (aside from the crab) is added in: Old Bay. For me, this is the flavor that truly marks the identity of a classic crab cake, and it’s what really makes the pasta feel and taste like it as well, so don’t leave it out!
Almost every crab cake comes with some sort of filler, and while I like to keep it to a minimum so the crab really shines through, I do always add just a little bit of panko breadcrumbs to hold the cakes together. Here, instead of using it to bind cakes together, I decided to make a garlic bread crumb with the intention of adding in lots of flavor, but more importantly a little bit of texture to the silky strands of spaghetti.
Just before serving all of the pasta is tossed with a little bit of flat-leaf parsley and finished off with a topping of garlic breadcrumbs.
We’re ready to dig in.
- 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 3 large garlic clove, divided
- 3/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
- 3/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
- 1/2 cup finely diced celery
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 1/2 tsp old bay seasoning
- 3/4 lb spaghetti
- 6 oz jump lump crab
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Heat a large skillet to a medium heat. Add 1 1/2 tbsp butter. Once butter has melted, add garlic. Saute for 1 minute until slightly softened. Add breadcrumbs and 1/4 tsp salt. Stir breadcrumbs to coat in butter and garlic. Toast until golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season with salt. It should taste like sea water. Add spaghetti. Cook until aldente. Reserve pasta water.
- Wipe pan clean. Add remaining butter to the bottom the pan. Once the butter melts, add onion, red pepper, celery, remaining garlic, and 1/4 tsp salt. Sauté until vegetables are softened, but still have a slight bite, about 5 minutes.
- Add white wine, simmer until reduced by half. Add old bay and remaining salt. Use tongs to transfer spaghetti to the mixture. Reduce heat to low and toss the noodles with the vegetables. Make sure to reserve pasta water.
- Add crab meat, parsley, and half of the panko. Gently toss. If needed, add pasta water to loosen the sauce up. Season to taste with salt and pepper,