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Buttery Crab Pasta

Floral pasta bowl, filled with crab pasta, sprinkled with parsley and Parmesan. A cheese grater and larger bowl in the background.
A lovely, light summer pasta filled with crab and cherry tomatoes, it comes together in under 30 minutes.
Melissa Clark

Prep 15 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 30 mins
3 servings
597 kcal


  • Fine sea salt
  • 8 ounces bucatini or linguine
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • 2 cups (10 oz) halved golden or red cherry tomatoes
  • 1 scallion white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup fresh chervil or fresh parsley leaves (or substitute a combination of fresh parsley and fresh tarragon)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon preferably organic
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces cooked lump crabmeat picked over to remove any stray shells*
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for serving
  • Flaky sea salt for serving


  • Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (usually a minute or two less than the package directs). Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the pasta water and the Parmesan. Stir in the tomatoes, scallion, red pepper flakes, and a large pinch of salt, simmer until the tomatoes begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the pasta, 1/4 cup of the chervil or parsley, the lemon zest and juice, and black pepper to taste. Toss until warmed through. Gently fold in the crabmeat.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat. Serve the crab pasta sprinkled with Parmesan, the remaining 1/4 cup chervil or parsley, a drizzle of olive oil, flaky sea salt, and more red pepper flakes, to taste.


*How do I get the bits of shell out of my crabmeat?

This might not sound like a big deal until you hear that nasty crunch while you're devouring a big, beautiful bowl of seafood pasta. Take all that glorious crabmeat and spread it out on a baking sheet. Pop it under the broiler for a minute—just enough to make those bits of shell turn bright red. And...easier to spot. With this little tip, you're still going to have to pick it out, but it will to make those bits of the shell so much easier to find.