Spicy Crab and Corn Pasta

Spicy Crab and Corn Pasta

Fresh crab meat may taste sweet and delicate, but it can stand up to spicy and strong flavors. In this summery pasta, crab is paired with fresh corn, which brings out its sweetness, and spicy, garlicky panko, which serves as a punchy, crunchy counterpoint. The bread crumbs are a little trick you’ll want to keep in your back pocket for any pasta dish that needs a lift (or try them in place of croutons in a Caesar salad). The crumbs are only mildly spicy as written, but bump up the red-pepper flakes if you want more heat. Finally, a note on Parmesan: The amount called for here is just enough to add depth of flavor, a bit of richness and a hit of salt. Purists who believe seafood and cheese should never mix can omit it altogether if desired.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, tossing occasionally, until al dente. Scoop out 1 cup pasta water, then drain the pasta and set aside. Zest, then juice the lemon, and set aside to use later.
  2. Step 2

    Meanwhile, in a large (12-inch) skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low. Add the garlic, red-pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook for 1 minute, stirring often, until fragrant. Add the panko and cook, stirring occasionally, until the panko begins to brown. At that point, begin stirring almost constantly and cook until the crumbs are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside, reserving the skillet.
  3. Step 3

    Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, along with the wine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to melt the butter, and add the corn kernels. Cook until the corn is tender and the liquid is reduced by about half, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside until the pasta is ready.
  4. Step 4

    Add the reserved pasta water to the skillet, along with 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then add the cooked pasta and cook, tossing often, until about half the liquid has been absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Step 5

    Add the crab and parsley, toss, and cook for 1 more minute, until the crab is heated through. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice, then the Parmesan, and toss until the cheese is melted. Taste for seasonings and add salt to taste.
  6. Step 6

    Serve the pasta in shallow bowls, topped with a generous sprinkle of bread crumbs, lemon zest, basil and more red-pepper flakes if desired.