I made fresh angel hair pasta with crab this week, one of my favorite pasta dishes. It’s a beautiful, light early summer dish that embodies the ease and fresh, light flavors that go hand in hand with the season – young peas, lemon, chives and seafood. At the same time what I want to write about is a bit heavier than that. I feel torn about this, but it’s what is on my mind and I think this blog is as much about life as it is about food. And of course the two go hand in hand – food sustaining us on this life journey.
About a year ago on this blog I was writing about life and death and cycles. I find myself right now thinking about the same thing. The world lost a beautiful person this weekend and I lost a friend, someone whose energy and kindness and natural grace was an inspiration. Someone who made me feel welcome in her world and who would always ask me about my life and whatever was going on with genuine interest and an open heart – even though when we first met I was just a friend of a friend, someone passing through her city of Rome. Spending time with her she made me feel as good and beautiful as she was. Just before hearing the news of her passing I had been talking with someone about life and stress, the ups, the downs, the paces we put ourselves through everyday and the challenges that we face – it was actually an ongoing conversation that lasted days and maybe it’s still going on. But one conclusion was reached, there was at least a moment in that day that was perfect and we were both super grateful for it. And if we took a step back and looked at the bigger picture our lives were filled with many — many more of those moments to be thankful for.
ANGEL HAIR PASTA WITH CRAB, PEAS, LEMON AND CHIVES
A very easy fast dish, especially if you are using fresh pasta. You can also add a little white wine to the crab when you are sautéing it if you have a cup on hand, just let the alcohol burn off.
1½ lb. fresh angel hair pasta or 1 lb. dry angel hair pasta
1 lb. fresh peas
¼ cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for drizzling
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
¾ lb. lump crab meat
½ cup chives, finely chopped
1 lemon, zested
½ cup mint, chopped or torn
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water with a generous handful of course salt and add pasta cooking it until it is al dente, – for me that’s usually about a minute less than whatever it says on the package.
Shell the peas and boil the peas for a few minutes in salted boiling water, rinse under cold water and set aside.
In a small sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chili flakes let it infuse the olive oil for 30 seconds, add crab and sauté for a minute, add peas, sprinkle with a little salt to taste. Turn off the flame and set aside.
When the pasta has finished cooking, reserve some of the cooking liquid, about a cup, and drain. Return to the pot and immediately add the crab mixture, some of the reserved cooking liquid – adding it a little bit at a time, you just want the pasta to stay moist. Sprinkle with chives, lemon zest and mint, drizzle with olive oil, stir and serve immediately.