Cooking with Mario Presents: Linguine with Live Crabs!
This month’s featured meal on Cooking with Mario features a pasta classic with a twist! Linguine has long been a staple of Italian cooking, often used to accompany the best seafood you have on hand. That affinity for seafood is why you have traditionally seen dishes such as linguine and clams as a popular option on Italian restaurant and catering menus across Philadelphia for decades. However, Chef Mario offers up his take on this culinary staple with live crabs with this dish.
The Live Crab DIfference
While you can always use the crabmeat you find at your local supermarket, utilizing live softshell blue crab gives your linguine and crab a unique depth of flavor that the canned variety does not have. For this particular recipe, Chef Mario goes about cooking the crabs as part of the linguine sauce. After adding garlic, salt, pepper, fresh tomatoes, homemade Italian red wine, and some olive oil is when you add the live crabs. Cooking the crabs in the sauce infuses that sweet crab flavor into the meal.
After around 10 minutes in the pot, the crabs should turn a nice pink color to indicate they finished cooking all the way through. At this point, you want to take them out of the pot and begin the process of cleaning them. Here is an infographic outlining the steps needed to clean a crab properly:
Once More with Linguine
For this dish, Chef Mario utilizes imported linguine to fully round out the meal. For most dry pasta, the box instructions call for the pasta to be cooked 10 minutes in boiling water to bring it to al dente, and 12 minutes to fully cook. However, Chef Mario cooks the pasta for eight minutes and finishes off the linguine by cooking it in the sauce. Incorporating the pasta into the sauce before the pasta finishes cooking allows for all of the flavors to marry and reinforce the seafood flavor throughout the dish. Make sure you take a little bit of the sauce out of the pot before adding the linguine so you can have a little bit to top off the pasta at the end.
The Finishing Touches
After your linguine finishes cooking in the sauce, you can start plating. You take one of the cleaned blue crabs from earlier and place it on the plate. Then you add a serving of the linguine that has soaked up the sauce and that sweet crab taste and aroma, adding the sauce that you saved from before to top off the pasta and add some fresh herbs to add that last little flourish.
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