If you are a crab enthusiast, this spicy, lemony, herby, crabby pasta will have your mouth watering and your body sweating out the heat (to avoid dehydration, best keep a water bottle handy—or, better yet, an ice-cold, super-dry white or rosé from the Mediterranean region). It can be served either hot or at room temperature. I’ve gone with thin spaghetti here to reduce cooking time. Speaking of which, a few general notes on boiling water. First, covering with a lid signiﬁcantly speeds up the time it takes to reach a boil. Second—hopefully this is obvious—always use high heat. Third, the oft-repeated truism that cold water boils faster is a myth that should be taken with a (crabby) pinch of sea salt. And fourth, this dish is so dang delicious that anyone who complains can go eat outside.
- Bring 4 to 5 quarts water to a boil over high heat in a large covered pot. Add a generous amount of salt to the cooking water (about ¼ cup). Add the pasta, stir, and cook just until al dente, about 7 minutes (or according to package directions). Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook until golden and lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Season lightly with salt and transfer to a small bowl.
- Using the same large, high-sided skillet the breadcrumbs were cooked in, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil with the garlic and chile over medium heat until the garlic begins to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the crabmeat and lemon zest and cook, gently stirring, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
- With the heat off, add the pasta to the pan along with the reserved pasta water, parsley, and lemon juice. Use tongs to gently toss and combine the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the pasta among 4 bowls and top each with some of the breadcrumbs. Serve immediately.
© Eat Cool: Good Food for Hot Days by Vanessa Seder ,Rizzoli New York, 2021. Photography © Stacey Cramp.