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How to make Spaghetti with fresh Crabs

The Spaghetti with fresh crabs. Needless to say, rinsing the crabs is the tricky part, so my Grandmother would pull the claws of off the live crabs so that they wouldn’t not run all over the counter or escape from the pot. Occasionally one would get away and we would chase it down on the kitchen floor.

We didn’t buy the crabs but went crabbing in a local river. We would walk up the long road to the main road, which was Old Hwy #17, and hitch a ride to the river.  Usually we were picked up by a local farmer who knew my Grandmother.  We would pile in the back of his truck, usually about 8 of us enjoying the breeze as we rode along.  Then we would do the same thing to get back home.  



  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil 
  • 4 Garlic Cloves – chopped 
  • 1 Large Onion – chopped 
  • 1 Tbs Red Pepper Flakes 
  • 1 Tbs Oregano 
  • 2 (28 Oz) Cans San Marzano Tomatoes 
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste 
  • 6 leaves Fresh basil – whole or torn 
  • 8 Fresh Crabs – rinsed 
  • ½ Cup White Wine 
  • 1 Lb Spaghetti 
  • Freshly Grated Cheese 



  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, red pepper flakes and oregano. Sauté for a few minutes until the onion is just translucent. Add the tomatoes. Now you can pulse them a few times in a processor or do as I do and crush the tomatoes by hand as I pour them into the pot. Simmer for a few minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and possibly more red pepper flakes and add the basil.
  2. Bring the sauce to a slow boil and add the rinsed crabs. Stir gently tossing the crabs around in the hot sauce. Adjust heat to medium high and add the white wine. Let it come to a soft boil again and taste again for seasonings. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile when the sauce is almost ready, cook the pasta. Drain the pasta, add back to the pot it was cooking in. Toss with some sauce and stir until all coated.
  4. Pour into a large serving plate that is not flat. Spread crabs on top. Pass the remaining sauce when serving. And the cheese! 


crabs in a bowl    crabs with sauce  crabs in a bowl      Spaghetti with fresh Crabs






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