This easy weeknight pasta comes together in less than fifteen minutes, yet it makes for a cheerful and luxurious dish that’s worthy of a holiday dinner party. The combination of briny crab with the sweet tender turnips is irresistible, and by using the young turnip greens, they not only add festive color, they also add a wonderful hint of mustard to the dish.
The sauce is simply vegetable stock, but by emulsifying it with butter, the fat adds some thickness to the sauce, allowing it to coat each strand of pasta like chocolate on a candybar. Because the crab is already cooked it gets added at the very end with the pasta and some cheese, and it’s all tossed together to marry the flavors.
One of the best things about this pasta is that it works great with whatever seafood is fresh and in season, along with a flavorful vegetable. For example, if you make a shrimp and broccoli rabe pasta, just fry the shrimp along with the cabbage at the beginning. I didn’t add any garlic to this because I didn’t want it to overwhelm the delicate flavor of the crab and turnips, but other seafood combinations could lend themselves well to the addition of some garlic or lemon zest.
Turnip & Crab Pasta
This easy weeknight pasta comes together in less than fifteen minutes, yet it makes for a cheerful and luxurious dish that's worthy of a holiday dinner party. (Recipe Credit: Marc Matsumoto of Fresh Tastes.)
- 12.7 ounces small turnips with leaves
- 5.6 ounces spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 5 ounces shelled crabmeat
- .4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Black pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Separate the leaves the from the turnips. Peel the turnips thickly with a knife as the thick skin can be fibrous. Cut the peeled turnip into thin wedges.
- Add the turnip leaves to the pot of water and return to a boil. When the leaves have blanched (about 30 seconds), transfer the leaves to a colander and rinse in cold water. Squeeze out the excess water and chop. Cut the turnip roots into wedges.
- Add the pasta to the water you boiled the turnip leaves in and cook for 2 minutes less than the package direction.
- Add the olive oil to a frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the turnips bottoms and fry on one side until browned then fry the other side.
- Add the turnip greens and heat through.
- Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
- Whisk in the butter to emulsify and then add the cooked pasta, crab and cheese. Toss to coat evenly and serve topped with freshly cracked black pepper.
Yield: 2 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.