This crab pasta is perfect for any seafood lover! Lucious linguine tossed in a silky white wine crab sauce (Italian granchio blu) — this restaurant-quality seafood pasta has everything you could want flavor wise. Based on a Venetian crab pasta dish from one of our favorite restaurants here in Venice (Antiche Carampane), this simple crab pasta uses just 9 ingredients (plus salt) and is ready in 25 minutes or less.
Can’t find black squid ink linguine? No problem, substitute regular linguine, whole wheat linguine, tagliatelle, tagliolini, spaghetti, or fettuccine instead. Plus, I’ve included a ‘how-to make crab linguine’ video (coming soon) so you can see how easy this Italian crab pasta really is to make.
Overview: Everything You Need To Know About Making Blue Crab Linguine
- What to Expect With This Crab Pasta
- Why You’ll Love This Crab Pasta Recipe
- The Inspiration For This Crab Pasta Recipe (Venetian Spider Crab Pasta w/Photo)
- What is Black Linguine?
- Overview: Linguine with Crab Ingredients (including substitutions)
- Overview: How to Make Crab Linguine in a White Wine Garlic Sauce
- Crab Linguine Step-by-Step Photos
- What to Serve With Crab Pasta
- FAQ’s & Best Tips For Making Crab Pasta
- A Few More Shellfish & Crab Recipes To Try
What to Expect With This Crab Pasta Recipe
This is not an imitation crab pasta:
Instead, this shellfish pasta uses fresh crab meat that I previously cooked, picked, and froze. If you can’t be bothered to cook your own crabs, substitute a small tub of store-bought jumbo lump crab, frozen crab leg meat, or even tinned crab meat. A little crab meat goes a long way in this recipe.
There are no crab shells being served in this pasta:
Even though crab shells make a beautiful presentation when they’re tossed in pasta and served, it can make for a super messy and frustrating eating experience. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve eaten our fair share of seafood pasta here in Italy served this way (see below photos). But, with the exception of Spaghetti alle Vongole where the clams easily slide right out of their shells with a tug of your fork, we prefer lobster and crab pasta to be shell-free when served.
*See below photos of a few authentic Italian seafood pasta we’ve eaten here locally: The lobster linguine in the 1st photo was really difficult and messy to eat as compared to the lobster spaghetti in the 2nd photo which took zero effort to eat (not to mention we didn’t need 15 wet naps to clean our hands in between cracking the lobster and taking bites). As for the spaghetti with clams, this is exactly how we want it to be served!
Why You’ll Love This Easy Crab Pasta
- It’s super simple to prepare (just a little sautéing in a skillet and boiling some pasta)
- 25-minute (or less) seafood pasta recipe (just about 15 minutes of hands-on time required)
- 9 ingredients + salt (This crab linguine recipe uses basic pantry staples and a few fresh aromatics you probably already have)
- Restaurant-quality flavor (silky, delicious, and craveable with chunks of tender sweet crab meat)
- You can make it as saucy as you like (I’ll show you how)
- No imitation crab meat (this is real deal blue crab pasta, not a surimi crab pasta)
- Totally customizable (this shellfish pasta can be made with crab and scallops, crab and shrimp, or crab and lobster, or go all out and make it a creamy crab alfredo pasta by adding a little heavy cream, Parmigiano cheese, and a pat of butter right at the end
The Inspiration For This Crab Pasta Recipe — Authentic Venetian Spider Crab Pasta
Below is a photo of Antiche Carampane’s “Tagliatelle con Granseola” (Tagliatelle with Italian Spider Crabs) which is one of our favorite crab pasta dishes to eat. It’s always fresh and full of lagoon crab flavor, but the best part is you can make a similar version at home using this recipe!
Overview: Crab Linguine Ingredients (Blue Crab Linguine with Tomatoes and White Wine Sauce)
Here’s a basic overview of the 9 ingredients (plus salt) used in this seafood linguine recipe. This easy pasta features blue crabs and black squid linguine (linguine nero di seppia), but if you’re not a fan of linguine or don’t have any black pasta on hand, simply turn this dish into crab spaghetti or crab fettuccine just by switching out the pasta, or just use regular linguine. You’ll find the full recipe measurements in the recipe card.
- Squid Ink Linguine or Regular Linguine: *You may substitute regular spaghetti or fettuccine. I’ve used an artisanal black squid ink linguine from Antico Pastificio Morelli, but any linguine or even spaghetti or fettuccine also tastes great with this crab sauce.
- Fresh or Frozen crab meat: I’ve used fresh Italian blue crab meat (granchio blu) that I previously cooked and froze. You may substitute king crab, snow crab, spider crab, or jumbo lump crab meat found in those refrigerated tubs at the grocery store.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: I use a high-quality EVOO from Abruzzo, Italy because it makes everything taste better:)
- Shallots: Shallots add flavor and a little more natural sweetness than a typical onion, without overwhelming the crab, but feel free to substitute yellow or white onion.
- Garlic: Garlic is a perfect aromatic to use especially when combined with sweet tomatoes and white wine. I cook with garlic the way they do here in Northern Italy — smashed, sautéed in EVOO to release its flavor and perfume the oil and sauce, and then I remove it before the pasta is plated. For this crab pasta, the sweet crab meat shines without being overpowered by bits of garlic in every bite. But if you’re a garlic-lover go ahead and mince the garlic instead.
- Dry White Wine: Using even a small amount of white wine to deglaze the pan chemically unlocks flavors in the tomatoes that wouldn’t happen otherwise (food science at its finest). This means your tomato crab sauce will have more flavor than if you don’t use it. I’ve used a Pecorino wine from Abruzzo, but any drinkable dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Garganega, Pino Gris, Pinot Bianco, etc. will work beautifully.
- Grape Tomatoes: I’ve used super sweet homegrown red and yellow grape tomatoes, but storebought works great. Blanching the tomatoes to remove the skins first means the pasta will have a better overall texture and it works better with the delicate crab meat in my opinion. You may substitute other sweet homegrown tomato varieties, or a high-quality tomato passata or canned tomatoes.
- Dried Chili Peppers: Adding a little spice to this crab pasta sauce is delicious, but you may omit it. If you don’t have whole chilis, you can substitute red pepper flakes, just be sure to add them a few minutes before the pasta sauce is finished cooking. This will keep the heat from becoming too spicy and it will keep the peppers from burning and ruining the sauce.
- Salt: I’ve used pink Himalayan salt, but feel free to use sea salt or kosher salt.
- Parsley: Adding parsley lifts up the flavor of this pasta. You don’t need to add a lot though because a little goes a long way.
Overview: How to Make Crab Linguine In White Wine Tomato-Garlic Sauce in 7 Easy Steps
This ultimate crab linguine takes just about 12 minutes of actual hands-on time to make. Cooking linguine takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes to reach al dente depending on the brand and style of linguine. In this case, the linguine takes just 6 minutes to cook and the sauce (from start to finish) takes about 15, so if you time everything right this pasta really can be ready in 25 minutes or less.
- Blanch the tomatoes and remove the skins.
- Sauté the aromatics in EVOO for 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. *Skip adding anything but salt if you’re a purist.
- Deglaze the pan with white wine.
- Add the crab meat and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add a little starchy pasta cooking water and stir.
- Add the linguine, toss, and serve.
Easy Crab Pasta Step-by-Step Recipe Photos (Italian Crab Linguine)
This crab pasta is super easy as you can see by the below step-by-step photos — it’s really as easy as boiling water!
What to Serve With Crab Linguine
Below are a few good dishes to pair with crab linguine whether you’re looking to make this a special occasion seafood pasta, or just to brighten up your weeknight!
- Mozzarella Parm Butter Garlic Toast (Spreadable Italian Cheese Butter)
- Easy Italian Diver Scallops au Gratin (Capesante Gratinate)
- Summer Starburst Vinaigrette (a favorite salad dressing)
- 10-Minute Easy Italian Shrimp Au Gratin (Gamberi Gratinati)
- Plum Crazy Caprese Salad (a Fresh Take on a Classic Italian Salad)
- Pan-Seared Asparagus or Perfect Pan-Seared Sweet Carrots
- How to Make Italian Caprese Salad (l’insalata Caprese)
- Perfect Pan-Seared Zucchini
- Antipasti platter with pan-seared veggies, salumi, cured olives, and tomatoes
- 4-Minute Perfect Pan-Seared Shrimp
Crab Pasta Top Tips and FAQ’s
What is Crab Linguine?
Crab linguine is an Italian Seafood pasta consisting of cooked linguine tossed in a delicious crab sauce often made from the meat of blue crabs and spider crabs, white wine, garlic, herbs (parsley or basil), grape tomatoes, shallots, sometimes lemon or lemon zest, and a little starchy pasta cooking water to make it naturally creamy. It’s an easy pasta that any crab-lover will want to make!
What is Black Linguine?
Black linguine (also known as squid ink pasta, cuttlefish ink pasta, or squid ink linguine) is typically a 100% durum wheat pasta that gets its striking color from either squid ink or cuttlefish ink. Cuttlefish ink and squid ink have distinctly different flavors and consistencies so it’s good to know which ink is being used in the pasta when buying it.
What Does Black Linguine (Squid Ink Pasta) Taste Like?
There are two types of black linguine or “squid ink pasta”. One uses cuttlefish ink and the other uses squid ink (as is the case with this recipe). Black linguine or any black ink pasta that has been made with the ink added directly to the pasta dough has a very slightly briny, umami flavor that makes it perfect to pair with seafood dishes. As for pasta made with squid ink or cuttlefish ink added to the pasta sauce while cooking, it’s much stronger tasting, earthier, salty, and in general tastes more like the sea.
A couple of notable distinctions between the flavors of these two types of black pasta: cuttlefish ink pasta and regular squid ink pasta
- Cuttlefish ink is more viscous and has a milder and more well-rounded smooth flavor than squid ink.
- Squid ink has a runner consistency and can have a very strong flavor even metallic or iron-like and for anyone not used to eating it, it can be overwhelming or even off-putting.
Can You Store Crab Pasta Leftovers?
Yes, you can store crab linguine or any crab pasta leftovers safely in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Although I wouldn’t eat it past lunchtime the following day after it’s made (just a personal preference as it relates to seafood). Refrigerated and reheated crab pasta won’t taste as great as the day you make it, but gently reheating it and avoiding the microwave helps! Try to make just enough portions to serve everyone without having leftovers when possible.
How Long Can You Store Crab Linguine in the Refrigerator?
As mentioned above, you can safely store crab pasta in an airtight container for up to 3 days, but try to eat it the day after at the latest for best flavor and texture.
Can You Reheat Crab Linguine?
Yes, you can reheat any kind of crab pasta (crab spaghetti, crab fettuccine, crab linguini, etc.) by gently reheating it in a preheated skillet set over medium heat with a little olive oil in it for around 4-5 minutes, or until just heated through. Be sure to toss the pasta around in the skillet so that all the noodles have contact with the bottom of the skillet and to help keep the pasta from overcooking.
Linguine or Linguini? (How is Linguine Spelled?)
Linguine literally translates from Italian to English as “little tongues” which is a nod to its flat, yet rounded (see photo below) shape that’s like a flattened spaghetti noodle. It’s often misspelled as “linguini”, with an “i” but it should be spelled with an “e”. Hailing from Liguria (the birthplace of pesto alla Genovese), linguini is most often eaten with seafood and/or vegetables (linguine pesto, etc.) and never with heavy or meaty sauces. All around the coastal regions of Italy, you’ll find it most often served with seafood, but vegetable linguine is also served throughout Italy.
A Few More Shellfish or Crab Recipes You May Want to Try
Crab with pasta is a natural fit, but there are so many easy seafood recipes out there to try! Below are a few of our favorite favorite shrimp, lobster, clam, and mussel recipes that are so easy you won’t believe you haven’t already tried them!
- Best Ever Crab Cakes *recipe coming soon
- The Easiest Way To Cook Blue Crabs (Granchio Blu Facile)
- Blue Crab and Leek Risotto *recipe and photo coming soon
- Easy Spicy Tomato-Alfredo and Shrimp Pasta (Anniversary Pasta)
- Easy Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo Pasta Recipe (w/Parmigiano Cream)
- Delicious Shrimp Scampi for Two (or a Crowd)
- 15-Minute Shrimp Pasta w/Garganelli (the Italian Way)
- Triple Shrimp Trighetto Pasta (Creamy Shrimp Pasta)
- Cajun Style Royal Red Shrimp Pasta for One (or a crowd)
- Asparagus Risotto w/Pan-Seared Scallops & Crispy Speck
- Delicious 4-Minute Lobster Tails (for one or a crowd)
- 25-Minute Ultra-Creamy Lemongrass Prawn Risotto
- Italian Langoustine Shrimp Scampi w/Rigatoni Pasta
- Steamed Mussels With Sausage and Mushrooms in White Wine Sauce
- Italian Spaghetti with Clams (Spaghetti alle Vongole)
- Dim Sum Har Gow Shrimp Dumplings (虾饺) (The Ultimate Guide)
We’d love to hear how this recipe turned out for you!
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