Neil Perry's spaghetti with spanner crab and pangrattato

Neil Perry
Spaghetti with spanner crab and pangrattato
Spaghetti with spanner crab and pangrattato  Photo: William Meppem

This is one of Neil Perry's favourite pasta dishes, combining the delicate flavour of crab with the chew of pasta.



300g sourdough bread, crusts removed and cut into chunks

60ml olive oil

1 tsp mild chilli flakes

1 clove garlic, smashed

2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

good pinch sea salt flakes


400g dried spaghetti

100ml olive oil, plus extra to serve

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 long red chillis, finely chopped

400g spanner crab meat

60ml dry white wine

1 tbsp butter

juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp flat-leaf parsley

pinch sea salt


1. For the pangrattato, pulse the chunks of sourdough in a food processor to produce coarse breadcrumbs.

2. In a frying pan, combine the 60ml olive oil, chilli flakes and garlic on medium heat and stir for 1 minute before adding the breadcrumbs. Sauté for 5 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden, add the parsley and sea salt, and remove from heat.

3. For the pasta, boil a large pot of salted water and cook spaghetti until al dente, according to instructions. Drain, reserving 100ml cooking water.

4. When the pasta has 3 minutes left to cook, combine the 100ml olive oil, garlic and chilli in a frying pan on medium heat until the garlic becomes fragrant; about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

5. Add the crab meat and gently stir before adding the wine and increasing the heat to cook it off. Add cooked spaghetti, butter, reserved pasta cooking water, lemon juice, parsley and sea salt. Stir well for a minute to allow the butter and water to emulsify. Remove from heat and divide between 4 bowls, garnishing with extra olive oil and a generous scattering of the pangrattato.