Taking Scissors to Sunset: Dungeness Crab and Garlicky Yogurt Pasta

 

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Hello people! Time for another dose of a delicious recipe, Sunset style. For those who are new around here, I will have an ongoing post where I take a recipe from Sunset Magazine and try it out on a budget at home. I actually made this dish a few months ago before I had posted the first recipe and therefore hadn’t come up with the idea to have a partner in crime yet. April escaped me and I never got around to inviting someone over to cook together. So instead, I will give you one that I hadn’t planned on posting because there was room for improvement and I wanted to give it a second try.

You can find the original recipe here.

Ingredients:

2 cups of greek yogurt

Zest and juice of 1 large lemon

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 garlic cloves, crushed with 1/4 tsp. salt in a mortar and pestle

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb. dried pappardelle pasta or 1 1/4 lobs fresh fettuccine

1 pinch saffron threads

1/4 cup butter

3/4 lb. shelled cooked Dungeness crab

1/2 cup loosely packed small fresh dill springs

About 2 tsp. aleppo pepper, urfa biber, or ground ancho chile*

I put in bold the items that I had to buy, the rest I already had around the house. You could cut down on some of the costs with a little hard work! We actually have a lemon tree right outside our kitchen window, but there weren’t any ripe ones on there at the time. We also have grown herbs once or twice, but I killed them both times. So theoretically, one could have gotten their dill that way if they have a green thumb. I often have pasta on hand, and greek yogurt is great for such a variety of recipes that the only real painful purchase for this one is the crab. I found a small container of crab legs at Whole Foods for $8.99. The exact weight was slightly less than what the recipe called for, but it worked fine. It also wasn’t Dungeness, but I didn’t find that made a difference. For those of you who aren’t a Californian, it’s harder to find this type of crab. I tried last summer in Maine and they didn’t have it because it’s a West Coast crustacean. I think any kind will do.

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* These are the rarest of rare spices, apparently! The Sunset recipe suggests ordering them online at worldspice.com. I went to many a market in search for one of the three and came up with nothing. Then…the following week I was browsing my local butcher shop‘s spice wall and what do you know! Two of the three side by side. This is one of the things I would have done right if I could have. Instead I substituted with chili powder, which I had on hand.

The other change I would have made is to use the pappardelle pasta rather than the fettuccine. I think I used the fettuccine because I didn’t feel like going to Trader Joe’s that week.

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1. Combine yogurt, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, garlic and oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Set aside.

2. Cook pasta as package directs.

3. Meanwhile, pulverize saffron with a mortar and pestle. Add 1/2 cup hot pasta water and loosen saffron bits. Pour into a small saucepan, add butter and heat until simmering; keep hot. Microwave yogurt-lemon mixture until hot but not boiling, 1 minute. Rinse crab with hot water in strainer to warm.

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4. Drain pasta and return to pot. Toss with saffron butter. Add yogurt mixture, crab, half of dill and a little aleppo pepper and toss very loosely to mix slightly. Pour into a warm rimmed bowl. Sprinkle with remaining dill and a little more aleppo pepper.

I spent a total of $16 on this fancy-ish recipe that feeds up to eight in you make it in full. I halved it and it was two days worth of meals for two. That’s a steal! A tip: if you don’t have saffron threads, Trader Joe’s sells them for $5.99. That is the cheapest I’ve seen anywhere. Most grocery stores charge $20 or more for them.

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Enjoy! And if you try this at home, let me know how it turns out!

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