Prep time 30 minutes
Active prep time 20 minutes
Special equipment needed – Crab scissors if using whole crab
Special skills needed – None
First off, let me confess that this is not a true carbonara. The main components of a real Italian carbonara are: a hard cheese, bacon, egg, and pepper. Some of the purists out there will undoubtedly judge me harshly for making a carbonara without bacon and for combining seafood and cheese. That’s ok with me. I really enjoy this dish. I took out the bacon and replaced it with sun dried tomatoes because they are visually similar to bacon and with crab, the bacon just makes this dish too rich. That little bit of sweet and sour flavor from the tomatoes is nice with all the cheesy, salty goodness in this recipe. I called it a carbonara because the sauce is still made by adding eggs and cheese to hot pasta with no additional heat. It also looks and tastes like a carbonara with the distinct yellow cream color. It still contains tons of pepper which is what gives the dish its name. It’s a pretty easy dish that looks chefy and sounds interesting. This is one I would make for guests.
The challenge with this dish is that is comes together really quickly, so you should have everything ready to go before you start. You’ll have to adjust your heat here and there. There is a little technique in getting the hot pasta to the egg and cheese fast enough so that it all melts together, but slow enough that you don’t cook the egg. If you follow the times closely, you should be OK.
When you finish making this dish, you might think that it is not enough food for 4 people, but it is extremely rich. With a crusty bread and a vegetable side, it is plenty of food for a reasonable dinner for 4. Of course, you can always double it if you are not sure it will be enough. I warn you though, you probably won’t be able to resist eating it all and then you’ll be uncomfortable.
1 Cup Crab meat
½ lb Fettucine pasta
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
2 Cloves garlic – finely chopped
½ Cup White wine
½ Cup Sun dried tomatoes – roughly chopped
1 Cup Parmesan cheese
Cracked black pepper
Salt to taste
Olive oil and Parsley for garnish
If you are using a whole live crab, which I always recommend, boil, cool, and pick your crab before you start. If the crab yields more than a cup of meat, you can always use more in the recipe. 1 whole Dungeness crab should be plenty. 1 lb of king crab legs will work instead of Dungeness if you prefer.
Set the crab meat aside and cook the fettucine according to the instructions on the package. When the pasta is within a few minutes of being done, put the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. For the pasta, turn the heat off when it is just a little underdone and leave it on the stove in the water. You’ll need the pasta to be hot later, plus you’ll need some of that water.
Quickly complete the remaining steps. Add the garlic to the oil and butter mixture and sauté for 1 minute. If it starts to burn, reduce your heat. Add the wine and sun-dried tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the crab and 1 cup of the hot pasta water.
From here on out, stir as little as possible to avoid breaking up the crab meat. Increase heat to high and cook for 3 more minutes until the crab is heated through. Drain the pasta and add the eggs and cheese to it. Then immediately add that mixture to the skillet. Toss to coat and then hit it with a healthy dusting of cracked black pepper. Drizzle a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with parsley to make it pretty.