crabs in marinara sauce

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Crab in Marinara Sauce

By , from the Zanne Miller collection
Serves 6


I have sworn not to share my marinara recipe, as the guarding of sauce recipes is almost as much of a tradition as the seven-fishes feast. When making your own, keep in mind that simple is better when you’re combining it with the strong flavors of crab. If crab isn’t available where you live in the winter, make the traditional version of this dish instead: with lobster tails, preferably the small, delicate langostini.


1 lb. dried spaghetti
16 oz. marinara sauce, such as Rita’s Spaghetti Sauce or Rich Marinara Sauce
~ Cooked meat from the bodies of 4 Dungeness crabs (about 1½ to 2 pounds each; save the claws and legs for Baked Crab Legs)
2 to 3 Tbsp. water
~ Fresh parsley leaves, minced, for garnish


  1. Bring water in a large saucepan or stockpot to a boil, then add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and arrange on a large serving platter; drizzle with a bit of olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, pour the marinara sauce into a large saucepan and simmer half of the crab meat in it; the crab meat will flavor the tomato sauce. Place the other half of the crab meat in a small covered baking dish, dabbled with the water to keep it from drying out, and keep warm in the oven at 250 degrees until ready to serve.
  3. Ladle the crab-steeped marinara sauce over the pasta and top with the lump crab meat and parsley. Pass at the table with a pasta fork or tongs for easier serving.


Read more about Italian Christmas Eve traditions in “The seven-fishes feast.”

blueberry cake

This content is from the Zanne Miller collection.

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