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Crab: Buying, Cooking, Cracking
The next time you're in the mood for decadence, reach for this recipe. The classic version of pasta carbonara is already rich with eggs and cheese—but we think there can never be too much of a good thing, and so we've added crab. The result is unqualified indulgence—a plush, creamy sauce studded with crab and pancetta and cradled in al dente pasta. Don't you deserve to go all out? Feeling a little French? Make your crab carbonara Saint-Germain style by adding 1 cup of frozen peas.
Serves 4 To 6
• 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti pasta
• 6 ounces pancetta slices, finely chopped
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 4 tablespoons heavy cream
• 2 large eggs, beaten
• 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
• 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
• 8 ounces fresh crabmeat (1 cup)
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
• In a large, heavy skillet, saute the pancetta over medium-low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or just until the fat begins to render. (High heat will make the pancetta rubbery and hard, so be careful not to overcook it.) Add the butter and cream; cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat.
• Add the spaghetti to the pancetta mixture, using tongs to thoroughly coat it with the sauce. Drizzle 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water over the top; toss again. Decrease the heat to low and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring several times, to let the sauce reduce slightly and heat the pasta.
• Crack the eggs over the pasta and quickly toss to combine, using the tongs. Stir in the 1/2 cup Parmigiano and the pecorino cheese until the eggs are cooked and the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat; add the crabmeat and season with salt and pepper to taste. If the spaghetti isn't moist enough, add another tablespoon or two of the reserved pasta water.
• Heap into warmed pasta bowls, and accompany with a pepper grinder and more grated Parmigiano cheese.
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