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Be sure to check back in tomorrow for “The Big Day” and find out what all the hype (self-induced as it may be) is about!

I’ve previously mentioned the pasteurized lump crab available in 16-ounce containers at Costco and how much I like that product. I always have it on hand since the “use by” date is at least 6 months out. What is pasteurized crab and why does it last so long? Please allow me to explain.

When the crabs reach the processing plant, they are alive. They are washed and steamed, the shell is removed, and they are cleaned. The meat is inspected and then pasteurized under a controlled thermal heat treatment before being sealed in airtight containers. This process makes the meat 100% bacteria-free. Pasteurized crab meat remains fresh for 6-12 months if refrigerated at 33-35 degrees and as long as the container is not opened. Once opened, the crab must be used within 3 days. Even though it has a long shelf life, it is important to store the container in the coldest back part of your refrigerator so it is not heavily affected by the constant opening and closing of the refrigerator door.

Marissa noticed that the container of crab in our fridge was set to expire next month, so crab was on the menu! I was planning on using it in a linguini dish but noticed some pappardelle pasta for sale at Trader Joe’s.

Pappardelle is a flat pasta cut into a broad ribbon shape. Its width is between tagliatelle and lasagna. Think of it as fettucini on steroids. Pappardelle is traditionally served with very rich, heavy sauces and is considered more of a winter pasta and I can see why.

My original linguini recipe calls for 16 ounces of pasta, hence I used that much pappardelle. That was a mistake; the dish was much too heavy on the pasta end. I have revised the recipe here to only use 8 ounces of pappardelle. If you choose to use a thinner pasta, such as spaghetti, fettuccini, or linguini, switch it back to 16 ounces.

Pappardelle Pasta with Crab, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

3 large peeled garlic cloves, divided
1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
8-ounce package of pappardelle pasta
2 teaspoons salt
Scant 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 cup drained and roughly chopped artichokes hearts
1/3 cup drained and diced sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 pound crab meat
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
1 cup arugula
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Mince one of the peeled garlic cloves and set aside. In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, add the minced garlic clove and sauté for 10 seconds, add the panko and stir until lightly browned.  Set aside.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil. Cook the pasta, according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves, salt, and chili flakes into a smooth paste. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining butter and olive oil. When just melted, add 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, along with the garlic paste. Continue to cook, stirring, until thickened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. When thickened, add the artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes and gently toss to coat.

Reduce the heat to low; add the crab meat, lemon zest, and juice and stir to combine. Add the drained pappardelle and toss until well coated with the sauce. Add the parsley and arugula, continuing to toss until the greens are slightly wilted. Taste and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 4

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