It reminds me of both Italy and Scilly (not Sicily!) – the beautiful Isles of Scilly, 27 miles off Cornwall, where I ate the tastiest seafood of my life. This dish is quick but special. When I have friends over it’s a flawless meal that looks and tastes awesome but is ready in a flash so I can relax and spend time with my loved ones. Good quality crabmeat is expensive, but a little is enough. I find this combination of three parts white crabmeat to one part brown to be a treat.
TAKES 15 mins
400g dried spaghetti
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil, plus extra to finish (optional)
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fresh red chili, seeded if preferred and thinly sliced, or a good pinch of chili flakes, plus extra for serving (optional)
2 medium courgettes, coarsely grated (400g)
200g British crabmeat (150g white meat and 50g dark meat)
1 large handful of finely chopped fresh parsley
2½ tablespoons lemon juice and ½ teaspoon grated zest
Sea salt and black pepper
1 handful of grated parmesan, for serving (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, with a lid for speed, then add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions – I cook it just under a minute less than the specified time. Drain the spaghetti, reserving a cup of the starchy cooking water.
- Once the spaghetti is in the pan, heat the butter in a large heavy bottomed skillet, add the spring onions, garlic and chilli and sauté over medium heat for 2 minutes, letting the garlic soften but not brown. Add the grated zucchini and a generous pinch of salt and pepper, then increase the heat, mix everything well and sauté for another 4 minutes, stirring regularly, until the zucchini liquid evaporates.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the crumbled crabmeat, parsley and lemon juice and zest.
- Quickly add the spaghetti to the crab skillet, adding about a half cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and stirring gently as you go, to get a nice shiny sheen. Add more pasta cooking water if needed, and you can add an extra drizzle of olive oil or a knob of butter at this point. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately with a little extra chili or black pepper and grated Parmesan, if using (I’m a seafood and cheese pro!).
VARIATION Replace the crab with 4 handfuls of chopped artichoke hearts and olives and omit the parmesan for a delicious vegetarian alternative.