I’d been wanting to re-create this Crab Linguine recipe for nearly 2 years and finally, the day has arrived and I’m super excited to share it with you.

In 2016, I married the love of my life and we went on a wonderful 4 week honeymoon visiting our favourite places – Italy and New York. Well one of my favourite cuisines is Italian food and my favourite place in the world is Venice, the home of this delightful meal.

A top down photo of crab linguine in a bowl with a fork and spoon

 

We spent days just wandering Venice and ate some amazing food including this pasta dish. I hunted down an authentic Venetian cuisine cookbook and this recipe has been adapted from that.

What is crab linguine?

Like many Italian dishes, crab linguine is a combination of very simple ingredients – olive oil, garlic, white wine, tomatoes, seasoning and pasta. This version also uses just a touch of cream to help that lovely sauce cling to the strands of linguine.

What to serve with crab linguine?

This is a complete meal on its own, however, you could serve it up with a side of crusty bread to soak up any of that lovely leftover sauce, or maybe some garlic bread to start.

Close up of a bowl of crab linguine with a cookbook in the background

How to make it – step by step

This simple crab linguine is quick to make. To keep it super simple, I usually just buy pre-cooked crabs to save on a little time and just pick the meat myself. That takes about 20 minutes and the whole dish only takes 10 to cook it from then on. King crab claws also work really well.

You start by sauteeing garlic in some olive oil just over low heat (photo 1), then add some white wine and simmer that over high heat until it’s almost all evaporated (photo 2). 

2 photos showing garlic being sauteed, then adding wine

The next step is to add the cherry tomatoes and saute for just a couple of minutes (photo 3), before adding seasoning (photo 4).

2 photos: Add tomatoes to a pan to saute, then adding salt and pepper.

Start creating the sauce by adding 1/2 cup of the pasta water (photo 5). It’s important to use the pasta water as the starch in that water will help the sauce to cling to the pasta better.

Now add a touch of cream (photo 6). This step is optional and not in the original recipe but I love just that tiny beat of creamy flavour it adds to the sauce.

2 photos: Adding water and cream to a sauteed tomatoes

Now it’s time to add that soft crab meat. Tip it in and give it a mix around (photo 7). Finally, add the drained pasta (photo 8) and serve.

2 photos: Adding crab to pasta sauce then showing the pasta mixed with the sauce.

The sauce is sparse, not loaded like you see with a lot of pasta dishes but it has big flavour, as Italian food does. A little tomato, olive oil and garlic, mixed in with luscious chunks of crab meat are all you need.

The flavour of the crab permeates the whole dish too so you end up with a very light coating of extremely richly flavoured sauce over delicate linguine.

Top Tips

The ingredients are few, so use good quality. With only 7 ingredients, there’s nowhere to hide. Make sure to use fresh tomatoes, garlic and crab (definitely no tinned or imitation crab). Use a good drinking wine and the best quality pasta you can. 

Substitutions

  • Pasta: the linguine can be swapped for many other kinds of pasta – penne, spaghetti, fettucini. Take your pick.
  • Crab: I prefer to use whole fresh crab but you could use pre-picked crab meat from the seafood deli (not tinned or imitation). I have in the past used pre-cooked blue swimmer crab and Alaskan king crab claws in this dish and they both are delicious.
  • White wine – Use a good quality drinking wine – Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay will all do the trick. You could use a fish stock if you’d prefer not to use wine.

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Close up of a fork digging into a bowl of crab linguine

This is such an amazing dish and if you’re a pasta lover like I am, I know you’ll love it. Perfect for a quick workday meal or serve it up to your friends for a weekend get together. You can’t go wrong with such simple, classic flavours. 

Interesting point; every time I type linguine I use a ‘q’ instead of ‘g’. Every. Single. Time.

More recipes you’ll love

This authentic Venetian Crab Linguine, like all Italian food is simple flavours in an easy meal that tastes amazing.

Authentic Venetian Crab Linguine

4.79 from 14 votes
This authentic Venetian Crab Linguine, like all Italian food is simple flavours in an easy meal that tastes amazing.

Ingredients

  • 300 g good quality dried linguine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
  • 1 tablespoon cream (optional) (notes)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 3/4 cup cooked crab meat (notes)

Instructions
 

  • Place a saucepan of salted water over high heat and bring to the boil, then add your pasta.
  • Place the oil and garlic to a frying pan over medium heat, stirring. Once the oil is hot, saute the garlic for about 1 minute but don't let it get too dark.
  • Add the wine and turn the heat up to high. Let it bubble away for 2-3 minutes until the wine has almost totally evaporated. 
  • Add the cherry tomatoes and saute for about 2 minutes, then add the salt and pepper.  
  • Add 1/2 a cup of the pasta water followed by the cream and give it a good stir. Add the crab and stir until heated through (only about 30 seconds). 
  • By now the pasta should be al dente, so drain the water away and add the pasta to the sauce. Give it all a good mix, check the seasoning and serve.

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
  2. If you are picking the crab meat yourself, you can get 3/4 cup crab meat from 2 cooked spider crabs.
  3. Using the pasta water in the sauce will help to make the sauce thicker and stick to the pasta.
  4. I prefer to use whole fresh crab but you could use pre-picked crab meat from the seafood deli (not tinned or imitation). Blue Swimmer Crab and even Alasking king crab claws both work great.
  5. Use a good quality drinking wine for this recipe. A sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, semillon will all work fine.

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UPDATE NOTES: This post was updated 4th of March 2019 with new step by step photos, tips and a minor change to the recipe.