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Pasta with Tomato Sauce

Hello, Join us Spaghetti & Crab Dinner

Friday 7/23 at 6:30 PM
IAC 40 Hamre La, Branford, CT
$25 pp Cash Bar
Contact Jimmy Dorroni 203-996-8897 or
Nino Armellino 203-996-0600

Dinner, Garlic Bread, Salad, Dessert

Buon Appetito

Crab Gravy  (Sauce or Gravy, Your Call)

6 servings

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 12 blue crabs, backs removed and cleaned

  • 1 white or yellow onion, peeled and chopped

  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

  • 1 teaspoon red chile flakes, plus additional for serving

  • Kosher salt to taste

  • 2 28-ounce canned tomatoes (either crushed or puree, depending on preference)

  • 1½ pounds thin spaghetti, angel hair pasta, or long fusilli

  • Fresh basil leaves, for serving

  • Fancy extra-virgin olive oil, for serving

  • Grated pecorino, for serving


Like soup made with chicken or beef bones, tomato sauce—gravy in the parlance of South Philly—made with whole crabs has a richer, more profound flavor than just throwing some crab meat over pasta. Fresh cleaned blue crabs are ideal, but frozen is OK if that’s all you can find. If you’re on the West Coast, this recipe would also be delicious with Dungeness.


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot. Add the crabs and cook on each side until claws begin to turn red and the bodies begin to brown. Remove crabs from oil and reserve.

  2. Add onions, garlic, and chile flakes and sauté for one minute. Season with kosher salt to taste. Cover and sweat over medium heat until onions begin to turn translucent, about six minutes.

  3. Add crabs back to the pan and cover with canned tomatoes. Simmer uncovered until crabs are completely cooked, gravy has thickened, and the kitchen smells like crabs. Season with kosher salt to taste.

  4. Cook the pasta in heavily salted water according to package instructions.

  5. Remove crabs from the gravy and arrange them in a bowl. Drain the pasta and toss with the desired amount of gravy. Garnish pasta with extra red pepper to taste, fresh basil, a drizzle of fancy olive oil, and grated pecorino. Serve pasta with a bowl of crabs on the side.

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