Not that long ago, Jim used to take me to Paris for Valentine’s Day. Tonight he went on an emergency mission to Sainsbury’s for cigarettes, worm medicine and white wine. The cigarettes were for him, the worm medicine was for the children, and the white wine for me. Which is another way of saying that tonight we are having a romantic meal at home, instead of a beautiful Paris bistro.

So, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And if you have crabs, make crab linguine. There is nothing better.

This is an Angela Hartnett recipe from The Guardian. My only tweaks: to cut down on the chilli a little, and I add some brown crab, for extra flavour, and lemon, for sharpness.


  • 400g dried linguine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • ½ tsp finely chopped fresh red chilli pepper
  • 300g picked fresh white crab meat (I do a 5:2 ratio white:brown)
  • 25ml dry white wine
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • salt and black pepper

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the linguine for 7–8 minutes, or according to packet instructions, until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan and add the garlic, spring onions and chilli pepper and lemon zest. Fry lightly without colouring for 1 minute. Stir in the crab meat and heat through for another minute.

Add the wine and lemon juice to the pan and allow to bubble and reduce completely.

Drain the linguine and add to the crab mixture. Stir in the parsley and toss everything together to coat evenly. Season to taste and serve immediately.

SERVES 4 – so for a romantic meal for two, best to halve the recipe.

UPDATE (04 April 2013): Felicity Cloake has written a piece in today’s Guardian, comparing the key crab linguine recipes. Read about it here.