I prefer “jumbo lump” crabmeat picked from blue-claw crabs for this recipe. If you can’t find that, substitute “lump” crabmeat—smaller pieces from the same species of crab—or chunks of king crab meat. Avoid fine-textured crabmeat like snow crab or spider crab.
- 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 salt-packed anchovy cleaned and chopped or 2 canned anchovy fillets
- 1 small leek, white and light green parts only, trimmed, cleaned and sliced thin (about ½ cup)
- ½ cup chopped trimmed scallions
- 6 bottled cherry peppers, cored, seeded and chopped (about ¼ cup)
- 2 cups Marinara Sauce
- 1 pound capellini
- sea salt
Pick over the crabmeat, removing any pieces of shell or cartilage, but leaving the crab in as large pieces as possible. Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat.
Heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the anchovy and stir until the anchovy dissolves, about 1 minute. Stir in the leeks and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the scallions and cherry peppers, cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Ladle the marinara sauce into the skillet, bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer.
Stir the capellini into the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until softened but still quite firm, 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir the crabmeat into the sauce. Ladle off and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. If the skillet is large enough to accommodate the sauce and pasta, ,fish the pasta out of the boiling water with a large wire skimmer and drop it directly into sauce in the skillet. If not, drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and pour in the sauce. Bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, stirring to coat the pasta. Check the seasoning, adding salt if necessary. Pour in enough of the reserved pasta cooking water, if necessary, to make enough of a light sauce to coat the pasta. Serve immediately in warm bowls.