Pasta Primavera with Crab Meat

Pasta Primavera with Crab

Pasta Primavera with Crab

 

A walk through the produce section of the supermarket at this time of year makes me think of pasta primavera.  The word primavera means “first green” in Italian.  So pasta primavera is, technically, pasta with the first green vegetables of spring,  Many restaurants disregard this meaning, however, and include just about any vegetables they have on hand.  Personally, I’d rather not find corn, summer squash or sweet peppers in my primavera.  I also find that a sauce made with heavy cream and butter is much too thick and rich for what should be a light springtime meal.

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What is supposed to happen goes something like this:  the chef gets up at dawn to browse the farmer’s market, finds the most awesome display of spring vegetables, then goes back to his kitchen and prepares them in a light cream sauce on perfectly cooked pasta.  Unfortunately that chef probably lives nowhere near you.  But here’s the good news!  That chef can be you (and me).  Walking through the market and filling your basket with whatever catches your eye is fun.  You’ll be surprised  at how easy it is to find beautiful spring produce when you actually shop for it in the spring.

Making pasta primavera is quite easy, with the most time spent cutting up the vegetables.  They should all be cut in uniform size so they will cook in the same amount of time. I like to jullien cut my vegetables so they are the same shape as the pasta. Once that’s all done, cooking the veggies till they’re tender and making the sauce takes place while the pasta cooks.  Put it all together, and you will have a dish that is fresh, bright, and attractive to serve.  The version that I put together uses only 8-ounces of fettuccine, lots of vegetables, and some crab meat for added protein. Vegetarians can omit the crab meat.  This dish makes 6 generous servings, so the calorie and carbohydrate content  per serving is low.

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PASTA PRIMAVERA WITH CRAB MEAT

Yield:   Makes 6 generous servings    Recipe can be halved.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

    Have all the vegetables prepped before you start cooking.

    Have all the vegetables prepped before you start cooking.

  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced asparagus
  • 1 cup spring peas
  • 1 cup carrots, jullienned
  • 1 medium zucchini, jullienned
  • 1 large spring onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped, or 1/2 tsp. dried
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped, or 1/2 tsp. dried
  • 3/4 pound crab meat, or similar amount crab-flavored chunks
  • 1 cup half and half, or light cream
  • 8 ounces linguine or fettuccine, cooked according to package directions, drained and hot.
  • black pepper to taste
  • grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sauté  vegetables 2 -3 minutes or until crisp tender.

 Sautéing the vegetables.


Sautéing the vegetables.

Add herbs and crab meat; sauté 1 – 2 minutes.

Add in the herbs and crabmeat.

Add in the herbs and crabmeat.

Add half and half, heat to boiling.Drain pasta, saving about 1/2 cup cooking liquid.  Add to skillet with vegetables and sauce.  Gently toss with pasta, adding some cooking liquid if necessary to loosen the sauce.

Adding in the sauce and pasta.

Adding in the sauce and pasta.

 

Toss all together in a large bowl and serve.

Toss all together in a large bowl and serve.

Transfer to a large serving bowl.  Season to taste with pepper.  Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

 

SOURCE:   A Carolyn Original

In the archives there is a former recipe for pasta primavera that I have worked with to come up with this new and improved recipe that I believe is lighter and healthier.

 

 

 

 

Crab Imperial

Crab Imperial

With the remains of the crabmeat my husband brought home  I made this dish.  In a sense it was an experiment because  I had not made it before, but I had all the ingredients on hand so I gave it a try.

Before I get to the recipe I thought I would share with you some facts about crabmeat.  Fresh crab meat will keep in your refrigerator for about 3 days, but  crabmeat which has been pasteurized will keep for several months in the refrigerator.  One pound of crabmeat equals 3 cups.  Crabmeat is packaged as follows:

  • Backfin, or Lump:  Solid lumps of white meat from the body muscles of the crab—the best!  It contains very little shell or cartilage, and is preferable in special recipes such as Crab Imperial or Crabmeat Salad.
  • Regular:  Small pieces of savory white meat from the body.  Still considered excellent, but takes more picking over for cartilage and shell removal.  Great for crab cakes, casseroles, salad, dips, etc.
  • Special:  A mixture of backfin and regular; also fine for dishes listed above.
  • Claws:  Meat from claws has a brownish tint, and comes in thin pieces.  It’s mostly used where appearance isn’t important.

The crabmeat that I had came from two large crab legs, part of which I had already used for the crab cakes, and what was left weighed about half pound, so I made only half of the following recipe.  The full recipe makes 4-5 servings.

CRAB IMPERIAL

SERVINGS:  4-5

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 3 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound crabmeat, backfin or lump preferred
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 10-15 Ritz crackers, crushed

DIRECTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a shallow baking dish or individual shell dishes.

2.  Remove any shell or cartilage  from crab meat.  Mix together all ingredients except crabmeat.  Gently stir in crabmeat.

3.  Put mixture in prepared baking dish(es).  Mix crushed crackers with the melted butter, then sprinkle on top of crab mixture.   Bake for 15-20  minutes.

My Evaluation:

Although we both liked the dish as prepared and presented here, I think if I make it again I would modify it in the following ways:  Add a few bay scallops and shrimp to the mixture for some variety in texture. Because the crab I used came from the legs, the pieces were small, and therefore there wasn’t enough “chew” factor.  The overall color of the dish was rather bland, so I would add some chopped green onion, maybe some roasted red pepper for color. Lastly I think it would be more enticing if it were served in a small pastry shell like phyllo cups.  These are just a few thoughts “in hind-sight” for anyone who decides to make it.  If you make it and have some good ideas to improve upon the recipe I would be interested to hear about it.

Crab Imperial

SOURCE:   Savory Shellfish Recipes of the Shore