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Linguine With Chilli, Crab and Watercress

by . Featured in NIGELLA SUMMER, and Nigella Quick Collection
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Introduction

You know, I'd eaten this a couple of times and made it myself (throwing in handfuls of peppery watercress as I did so) a few more before I realised it was, give or take, the River Cafe's recipe - by which I mean to say that although the amounts and full list of ingredients vary, it is an English seaside version of their fabulous original. I suppose that's how you know something's become a classic: it just seeps its way into the culinary language.

Crab is, I think, hugely underrated - so much better than lobster, and much cheaper. You can use frozen crab meat for this, but it's best to get a fishmonger to cook and pick out the meat for you.

You know, I'd eaten this a couple of times and made it myself (throwing in handfuls of peppery watercress as I did so) a few more before I realised it was, give or take, the River Cafe's recipe - by which I mean to say that although the amounts and full list of ingredients vary, it is an English seaside version of their fabulous original. I suppose that's how you know something's become a classic: it just seeps its way into the culinary language.

Crab is, I think, hugely underrated - so much better than lobster, and much cheaper. You can use frozen crab meat for this, but it's best to get a fishmonger to cook and pick out the meat for you.

Linguine With Chilli, Crab and Watercress
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Serves: 6 as a starter, 4 as a main

Metric Cups
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 scant tablespoon maldon salt
  • 1 large red chilli
  • 200 grams white crab meat
  • 100 grams brown crab meat
  • 125 millilitres extra virgin olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 500 grams linguine
  • 1 handful fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 handful watercress (roughly torn)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 scant tablespoon sea salt flakes
  • 1 large red chile
  • 8 ounces white crab meat
  • 4 ounces brown crab meat
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1 handful fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 handful watercress (roughly torn)

Method

  1. Put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta.
  2. In a large pestle and mortar pulverise the peeled garlic cloves with the salt, so that it makes a smooth paste. Then add the chopped and seeded chilli and crush again until you have a gloriously red-tinged mixture. Tip in the crab meat, breaking it up gently with a fork, and pour in the oil. Zest the lemon into the mortar and then add the juice.
  3. Using a fork, beat well to mix, and then you are ready to cook your pasta. So do so, and then drain the pasta and tip into a warmed serving bowl. Immediately pour over the crab sauce and toss the pasta about in it, then throw in the parsley and watercress and toss again.
  1. Put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta.
  2. In a large pestle and mortar pulverise the peeled garlic cloves with the salt, so that it makes a smooth paste. Then add the chopped and seeded chilli and crush again until you have a gloriously red-tinged mixture. Tip in the crab meat, breaking it up gently with a fork, and pour in the oil. Zest the lemon into the mortar and then add the juice.
  3. Using a fork, beat well to mix, and then you are ready to cook your pasta. So do so, and then drain the pasta and tip into a warmed serving bowl. Immediately pour over the crab sauce and toss the pasta about in it, then throw in the parsley and watercress and toss again.

Tell us what you think

What 3 Others have said

  • This looks delicious. I love this dishes like this. Will try soon!

    Posted by BanglaRecipe on 3rd June 2016
  • If you love shellfish & chilli this is the one for you-easy peasy but packed with flavour. Bow to the Mighty crab & bow to the Amazing Nigella!

    Posted by sbarody on 23rd October 2014
  • This is my favourite recipe ever! Takes as long to make as the pasta to boil. Great weekday treat as well as quite an impressively delicious dinner for guests. Thanks for brightening up my week Nigella!

    Posted by abirose29 on 22nd October 2011
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