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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Carl Cooks: Pappardelle With Crab, Buttered Artichokes & Mint

I am forever experimenting and trying new recipes. However, along the way some of them become keepers that I know result in proven no–risk dishes. For this simple pasta dish I once again defer to one of my favorite recipe sources from the Tyler Florence, cookbook, "Tyler's Ultimate." Some of my favorite comfort food recipes come from this collection and I have previoulsy posted about Tyler's version of French Onion Soup and Macaroni & Cheese.

8 ounces of dried Pappardelle pasta (fat noodles)
1 large jar (32 ounces) whole Artichoke hearts in water (not marinated)
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 container lump crab meat (or 1 pound fresh crab)
Dried red pepper flakes (pinch)
Fresh Mint Leaves (about 1/2 bunch)
1 Lemon (Zest and Juice)
Unsalted Butter (1/2 cube)
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (3/4 cup)

A word about the PASTA.
Pappardelle (pronounced: pop-par-del-lay) is a flat very ribbon pasta which is about three times wider than fettucini. Although fresh is nice I find that the dry version readily available at Trader Joe's works just as well for this dish. Tyler's recipe calls for one pound but the 8 ounce package sold at TJ's makes for a great main course for 4 to 6 with leftovers.

A word about the CRAB.
Another serious shortcut for this dish is using the pasteurized crab in a plastic container sold in the refrigerated section of Costco. It is the easiest way to get one quick pound of delicious lump crab meat for $14.99.

This option is a great shortcut alternative to extracting all the meat from a crab.

Start a large pot of water boiling for the pasta.
Finely mince one half of the mint leaves and reserve the rest for garnish.
Melt the butter and oil together in a large pan.
Add the artichoke hearts, red pepper flakes and crab meat.
Add the lemon juice, zest, minced mint and sauté until all flavors combine.

Melting butter and extra virgin olive oil together for huge flavor.

In go the chokes and a good pinch of red pepper flakes for kick.

Zesting the lemon right into the pool!

Add salt to the boiling water and cook pasta per package instructions.
Drain pasta and spread it onto a serving platter.
Top with the crab and artichoke mixture.
Garnish with the whole mint leaves, more lemon zest and grated cheese.
Toss together with the pasta as you serve.

You can make this dish more complicated by using fresh artichokes, whole crabs and even making your own pasta but I prefer to keep it simple. As easy as this recipe is to make the flavor layers run deep. The buttery artichokes, sweet crab meat, fresh mint and slight heat from the crushed red peppers just snap even when re-heated as a leftover. All of moisture from the artichokes buttery glaze keeps the fat noodles from sticking together. My parting shot is just one last close up shot of all the goodness.