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Tagliatelle with Crab and Tarragon

Prepare this simple pasta dish using the freshest crab you can find, and be sure to pick it over to remove any bits of shell.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 leek, white and light green portions, halved, rinsed well and thinly sliced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3/4 lb. fresh-cooked lump crabmeat, picked over to remove any shell fragments
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbs. minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. salt
  • 1 lb. tagliatelle or linguine
  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Directions:

Make the sauce
In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the leek and shallot and sauté until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the crabmeat and cook, stirring occasionally, until just warmed through, about 4 minutes. Add the wine and cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated, about 1 minute.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add half of the tarragon, the 1 cup cream and the 1 tsp. salt. Cook until the sauce is warmed through, about 3 minutes. Do not let it boil. Remove from the heat.

Cook the pasta
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the 2 Tbs. salt and the pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Add as much of the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining tarragon, season with white pepper and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Pasta, by Julia della Croce (Oxmoor House, 2006).