In my third year at University I lived with Emma & Gemma. It was pretty much perfect. We liked the same TV shows. We never fought about housework or the washing up. And we cooked together most nights. I think if you’d have come round on a Thursday night at 8pm and seen us dishing out dinner, pouring wine and setting the table, you would never have guessed that we were students. I still miss living with those girls.
It helped immensely, of course, that Emma was (and is) a brilliant cook. I learnt a lot from her that year and whilst I’ve always loved food and hosting and feeding people, without her I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have started this food blog. She made the most incredible things – a smoked salmon lasagne that I crave almost every day, delicious soups, miniature beef wellingtons and crab linguine. She could pretty much just pull stuff from the cupboards and come up with a hearty meal – a skill that I am still working on.
Crab linguine was one of my favourites, and this dish is a variation of a meal she used to make for us. It was so fresh and simple – chilli, garlic, lemon juice and crab tossed with freshly cooked linguine and served with a glass of white wine. This is a throw-it-together dinner; it takes around 20 minutes from start to sitting down, and I usually have most of the ingredients in already. Tinned crab can be a little difficult to get hold of – you can use fresh, of course, but tinned is so easy – but it’s worth hunting down. Maybe it’s just my local supermarket but I found about 50 different kinds of tuna but no crab to speak of – which is a middle class problem if ever there was one.
This dish is perfect for the summer – it tastes so light and fresh. Put it together on a weeknight for a comforting meal in front of the telly, or make it seem fancy by serving it for a friend with hunks of garlic bread (of course), extra wine and a side salad, because side salads always seem fancy. As always on this here blog, this is more of a suggestion than a recipe – you can adapt this dish however you like. A little less cream, a little more lemon. Adjust the amount of chilli if you’re sensitive to heat. Asparagus goes well instead of (or as well as) rocket, and you can throw some halved cherry tomatoes into the mix if you’re feeling adventurous. Grate on some parmesan if you’re feeling crazy, I won’t judge you.
- 200g linguine
- 1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- lemon olive oil (or regular olive oil but use more lemon zest)
- 1 tin white crab meat
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- medium glass of white wine
- splash of double cream
- Black pepper
- 70g rocket
1. Add a big pinch of salt into a saucepan of boiling water. Throw in your linguine and leave on a medium heat.
2. In a separate saucepan, heat your oil and add in the chilli and garlic. Cook for around 3 minutes on a medium heat, being careful not to let the garlic brown too much as it will give a bitter flavour to the dish. Turn it down if you’re getting worried!
3. Drain your crab meat and break up with a fork. Tip into the saucepan and pour in your glass of white wine.
4. Add your lemon zest (and a squeeze of lemon juice if you like it lemon-y) and some black pepper to taste. Leave to bubble gently, stirring occasionally.
5. Once your pasta is cooked, drain and add your double cream. Pour into the saucepan with the crab and toss together.
6. Turn down the heat and add the rocket to the pan. Stir regularly until the rocket has wilted.
7. Portion into bowls and serve with some extra black pepper on top.
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