Crab, mint and lemon spelt pasta

Joker/Comedian – ‘What did the crab pull at the disco?’

Receiver – ‘I don’t know’ (yawn)

Joker/Comedian – ‘A mussel/muscle’….

This is the only joke I have remembered since being about 5 years old. I don’t think I even got it at first but for some reason, it has stayed with me. It’s not exactly ‘laugh out loud’ but it’s done its job when I’ve needed it.

Crab, mint and lemon spelt pasta

I love this dinner as it is so quick and the spelt pasta adds a lovely nutty flavour to the dish. In fact, I think this is the only recipe where I have really enjoyed the ancient grain (yes, it was mentioned in the Bible) – not that I have read it. I also like having this as a smaller portion, to serve as a starter. If you either can’t get spelt or just aren’t fond of it – spaghettini also works wonders in this dish, as with most light seafood sauces.

I am a cancerian, which seems a bit wrong to love eating crabs but I do. At one point, when I lived on a farm – I would often get a dressed crab, a baguette, some good mayonnaise and have this as my dinner, usually washed down with a nice bottle of wine, heaven! I’m not so good with removing crab from claws, but working on it. I am not at all bad at shelling prawns, but that’s another story!

Ingredients Serves 2 or 4 as an entree – Although I have specified quantities, for this – go with instinct to suit your preferences

  • 200g long spelt pasta, or as much as you’d usually use for 2 people (we like lots)
  • 300g cooked spanner crab meat (or canned brown and white meat)
  • Half a bunch/handful finely chopped mint
  • 1 long red chilli (or as much as you like)
  • Zest and juice of 1 biggish lemon
  • 40 ml extra-virgin olive oil

Lemon pangrattato (breadcrumbs)

As I have mentioned before, with any leftover bread – add to a food processor with lemon rind, garlic, seasoning and any leftover fresh herbs and process until crumby. It freezes really well and is at hand whenever you need crumbs. Otherwise make these.

Ingredients Serves 2 people


Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add breadcrumbs and stir until golden and crispy. Add the grated lemon rind and garlic, season to taste and cook for a further minute, leave to one side.

For pasta, heat a large pan of salted water to boiling point. Whilst this heats, chop mint and chilli and zest and juice your lemon. When water is boiling, add the spelt until al dente (about 6-8 minutes) – or according to packet instructions. Drain and reserve about 3 tbsp of the pasta water then add the reserved water and pasta back to the pan, mixing in all other ingredients (mint, chilli, lemon and olive oil). Top with your toasted pangrattato.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Katie,

    This looks so good! Your joke made me laugh, as I have a soft spot for kid jokes. My favorite joke is also from childhood. My little sister used to tell the following joke everyday for a good solid year when she was five. Still makes me laugh…

    Knock, knock.
    Who’s there?
    Bear who?
    Bare Bum

  2. katiebonken says:

    Who said it was a kid joke? I know, never mind. Yours was actually pretty good as I have a soft spot for bottom jokes! Thanks for the comment x

  3. alifemoment says:

    It looks great, really nice recipe !!! 🙂

  4. cheergerm says:

    Recipe looks delicious and I love both the jokes. (My small boys will of course have a preference for the bottom joke, they always do. ) I can never remember jokes but I will try with these.

  5. katiebonken says:

    Your boys obviously have good taste then, I will add the bottom one to my very short repertoire.

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