Dungeness Crab Lemon Basil Pasta

CrabLemon1Pasta Dungeness Crab Lemon Basil Pasta

Fact: I will eat just about any food but my favorite dishes are usually simple to prepare, fresh in flavor, and can be made very quickly. Cooking for me is about being flexible, creative, and resourceful. And I can’t help but be a little proud of myself when I make something so deliciously good with such little amount of effort.

For instance, today’s pasta dish was inspired by Aglio E Olio (warm olive oil and garlic pasta), the bounty of summer cherry tomatoes, fresh basil growing in a tiny plastic pot next to the kitchen window,, and fresh lump Dungeness crab meat to top it all off. The addition of fresh lemon juice brightens everything perfectly. We now have a light summer dinner meal bursting with flavor to delight the palette as well as the stomach. Even the kids in our neighborhood loved this pasta dish and I think you will too. I’ve written the recipe as a guide but by all means, feel free to adjust the recipe to your liking. Enjoy!

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Dungeness Crab Lemon Basil Pasta

Serves 3-4


1 lb package of spaghetti

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

6-8 cloves chopped garlic

½ cup fresh basil, chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes

pinch of salt and pepper

½ fresh Dungeness crab meat (substitute with pre-cooked shrimp/prawns)

1 lemon, quartered


Cook spaghetti in salted water until al dente (tender but firm).  Drain pasta and set aside.  Add olive oil and butter to a medium sauce pan on medium high heat until butter has melted.  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds to soften them up.  Remove pan from heat.  Add pasta noodles to the pan and toss the spaghetti until each strand has been coated with the garlic sauce.  Add tomatoes, chopped basil, salt, pepper and gently toss.  Divide the crab meat according to how many servings you are making.  Place the individual portion of the lump meat and place it on top of each mound of spaghetti.  Squeeze one lemon quarter over the top of the crab meat and pasta just before serving.  Enjoy!

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  1. Kelly @ EvilShenanigans says

    That looks lovely, fresh, and very summery! I think it would also be good with shrimp, which I always have on hand. Yum!

    • says

      Hi Heather,
      Dungeness crab meat is expensive. It’s about $30/lb here but here’s the deal. The way I look at this is. The cost to make this per person is about $5-6/serving with the crab meat. If I were to order this at a restaurant, I would guess you would pay at least triple because of the crab. So if you love crab, making this dish at home would be worth it. I’ve made it three times in the last 2 weeks because we love it so much and it’s a fuss free meal to make. You could easily substitute shrimp or omit the crab altogether. Hope this helps!

      PS: Whatever you do, do no used canned crab meat. Canned crab is suitable for soups but not for this pasta dish where the crab is the key ingredient.

  2. Kathy in Greendale says

    I love that this dish is light…not swimming in a heavy cream sauce. I’m going to make it with whole wheat pasta for myself, regular pasta for the rest of the family.

  3. Vanessa says

    This looks great. I can’t wait to try it! I just came back from Whole Foods and they had fresh Dungeness Crab for $5/lb ( might have been previously frozen though. I didn’t look that closely)

  4. says

    Oh, you’re killin’ me. But i order the Phillips crab cakes off QVC. SO YUMMY and can’t beat the price. AT least i can’t *grin*. Maybe I’ll go make one now :)

  5. says

    OK, here’s the plan. My birthday is next week. I can splurge on a little (a lot!) crab, since I’m planning on eating in anyway.

    Can I wait until then? Not sure.

    Thanks for a kickin’ recipe!!

  6. michele says

    came across your recipe on pinterest, just made this tonight & it was FABULOUS! so simple, so fresh, it will be a regular at my house, thanks!

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