Quick Crab Pasta Sauce

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When I was younger family trips to the Jersey Shore were a summer tradition. We would stay at my Uncle Jimmy’s house in Toms Rivers. Our days spent getting boat and jet ski rides, and nights at the boardwalk. One of my favorite memories is watching the crab trap all day long.  We would pull it up from the side of the dock, out of the bay water hoping that crabs had wandered in. This would mean pasta with crabs  for dinner! It was quite an event! Out would come the big pot and into the kitchen my mom, grandma, and aunts would go! Then it was a long night of food, wine, and laughs. Maybe a couple of illegal fireworks if we were super prepared.

I wish I had the bay out back and full crabs at all time but in North Jersey that is not always possible. 

Normally we would simmer the whole crabs in the pasta but on weeknights when I long for summer nights I need a quick alternative. This recipe with crab claw meat is my go-to.

Quick Crab Pasta Sauce

This quick and easy pasta sauce is my go to when I am not down the shore with a bay full of fresh crabs!



  • 1 lb dried linguine, cooked according to package directions

  • 8 oz crab meat (I used Phillips brand crab claw meat)

  • 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes

  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/4 c red wine

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp pepper

  • 1/2 Tbsp red pepper flakes, optional (but oh so good!)

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped


  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil over med-high heat. Cook the linguine according to the package directions. About 8 minutes for al dente. Make sure to add salt to the pasta water. I usually add around 2 tablespoons. When the pasta is done cooking drain and reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta water.

  2. In a medium size pot add 2 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil (you will be putting the tomatoes and crab together in this pot). Once the butter is melted add the garlic and let it saute until you see it start to turn golden brown. This does not take long, about 1 and half minutes.

  3. Then add in your crab meat. Stir to coat with the butter. Let that saute together for about 3 minutes.

  4. Then add your can of tomatoes, and red wine. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then stir to incorporate. Let the sauce come to a simmer and cover. Let it simmer together on low heat for 15 minutes.

  5. After 15 minutes add in your remaining tablespoon of butter and the reserved pasta water let it simmer another two minutes.

  6. Transfer the linguine to a large bowl for serving. Pour over the crab pasta and sprinkle over the red pepper flakes if desired. Toss the pasta and sauce together coating the pasta. Top with fresh basil and serve.

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