Don't let that calendar fool you. It may say April and it may technically be spring, but it's most definitely still hovering in the 30s outside. I'm so over this weather!
It's precisely this spirit of defiance that led me to a favorite pasta dish I normally enjoy during warmer months. Sweet crab meat needs no reason to get gussied up, but it plays nice here with bright lemon flavors, mild and grassy chives (my favorite) and just the faintest kick of underlying heat. A touch of heavy cream gets infused with both the juice and zest of the lemon, rounding out a nice, velvety sauce.
I'm basically willing warmer weather to arrive with this dish. Let's hope it works!
Spaghetti with Crab, Lemon, Chili Flakes, Chives and Cream
8 ounces dried spaghetti
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for serving
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes (red jalapenos also work really well here!)
8 ounces lump or flake crabmeat, picked over for shells
1/4 cup lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1/4 cup chives, minced, plus additional for serving
Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.
While the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and butter. When the butter starts to foam, add garlic and crushed red chili flakes and stir until fragrant and garlic is light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add the crab, lemon juice, lemon zest and heavy cream. Heat through gently, taking care not to break apart the meat too much, about 2 minutes. Season generously with salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Add cooked pasta and chives to the skillet and gently toss to coat. If sauce looks dry, add reserved pasta water, bit by bit. Plate the pasta, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, top with chive garnish and season with freshly cracked pepper. Serve immediately.