The idea of these blue crab fagottini emerged from an unexpected find of Greek blue crabs when I was actually looking to buy some porcini mushrooms. But you know as they say: everything happens for a reason. And I needed not a better reason to test my new handmade Japanese ceramic plates than this random find of blue crabs as an excuse for a new cooking experiment.
The crab meat
Wash the blue crab, then boil them in a big pot of hot water until their colour changes to an impressive bright orange. Remove them from the pot and put them in a bowl of cold water and ice cubes. When cooled, clean them and extract the meat, reserving the leftovers (shells, carcass, tongs) for the stock. Season the crab meat with Maldon salt, Tellichery pepper, tabasco, lemon juice, and cover with cling film, and store in the fridge so that the flavours can develop.
Mix 175g of Italian pasta flour with 75g of semolina flour, add 4 egg yolks and start forming the dough by hand, adding water and a drizzle of olive oil until the dough reaches the desired consistency. Continue to knead it until it becames elastic, then wrap it in cling film and refrigerate it for half an hour. Meanwhile, make the stock.
In a pot, put the crab leftovers with a whole shallot, the white part of a leek, a bay leaf, a few peppercorns, two peeled cloves of garlic and cover everything with water. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for a good 30 minutes, then strain it, reserving the liquid and the garlic cloves. Return the liquid on the stove, together with the two cloves of garlic, and let it simmer again. Meanwhile, take the crab meat out of the fridge and the pasta machine out of the closet and started shaping the fagottini.
Pass the dough through the pasta machine until you get some beautiful yellow very thin strips. Cover them with a slightly damp towel so they don’t dry while you work the rest of the dough. From the strips, start cutting 8cm squares (roughly as big as a post-it). In the middle of each square, put a small amount of crab meat – as much as you can grab with your fingertips. Bring the sides of the squares together, making sure there’s no air in the newly formed pyramids so they won’t break while boiling. Leave the fagottini to dry on a kitchen rack and next, prepare the silky sauce.
While the soup is simmering, add 100 ml of white wine. Let it simmer again until it’s reduced, then I repeat the process, adding another 100 ml of white wine and allow it to reduce. When the liquid starts simmering again, add 35% fat cooking cream, stirring continuously with a whisk. This makes the garlic cloves turn into a paste and perfectly integrate into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper and continue to stir over low heat until you get the finest, most balanced, insanely good sauce.
Final preparations and plating
Cook the fagottini in a pot of boiling water seasoned with a generous amount of salt and leave them for 3 minutes. They’re ready when they float. Take them out and transfer them into a pan with beurre noisette (lightly caramelised butter) for another minute, until the butter covers the pasta in a velvety coat, giving it a beautiful shine. For the plating, draw a line with the fabulous silky sauce and placed the fagottini on top of it; decorate with microgreens and finish with some freshly ground Tellichery.