All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Kani to horenso no tomato kuriimu pasuta / pasta with crab and spinach tomato cream sauce

Vodka and lemon zest and juice really perk up this quick tomato cream sauce! Adapted from Pike Place Market Cookbook, it tastes especially good with flat pasta.

1/2 of recipe:
481 calories; 24.0 g protein; 14.0 g fat; 61.2 g carbohydrate; 56.8 g net carbs; 361 mg sodium (approx. 100 mg less if pasta is boiled without salt); 61 mg cholesterol; 4.6 g fiber


Pasta for 2 servings (125 g wide ribbon pasta in photo)
1/2 tbsp salt (to boil pasta; not in photo)

For tomato sauce
200 cc (approx. 210 g) canned tomatoes
1 small clove garlic
2-3 cm wedge onion (20 g in photo)
1/3 taka no tsume red chili pepper (slices)
1/4 tsp olive oil
Black pepper, to taste

Handful (80-120 g) crabmeat (120 g; 1/2 Dungeness crab in photo)
50 g spinach
1 clove garlic
1 small lemon
2 tbsp vodka
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
Black pepper, to taste


Make tomato sauce.
Finely chop garlic and onion (whole garlic in photo is to saute later).

Place in a microwaveable bowl.
Add red chili pepper and olive oil; mix well.

Cover, and microwave for 1 minute.
Add tomatoes, and mix well (smash if using whole tomatoes).

Partially cover (approx. 1/3 of bowl opening), and microwave for 3 minutes.
Remove, mix well, partially cover, and microwave for 1 more minute.    
Add black pepper, and mix well.

In the meantime, start boiling water for pasta.


In a frying pan, melt butter and heat olive oil; saute garlic on medium low heat until golden. 


Meanwhile, zest lemon, and juice 1/3-1/2.


When water boils vigorously, add salt and pasta, and cook with the goal of draining pasta 30 seconds before time specified on package.


When garlic is golden brown, add crabmeat, and stir. 
Add vodka, and reduce somewhat.

Add lemon zest, and stir.


Add tomatoes and heavy cream, and reduce somewhat.

(If pasta won't be ready for another 4 minutes or longer, lower heat after adding tomatoes and heavy cream to slow down the cooking process.)

Add 1-1 1/2 tsp lemon juice. 
Add black pepper.


When pasta is nearly ready, add spinach to sauce, and cook.


Drain pasta, add to sauce, and quickly mix.

Ready to serve.

  • No salt is added to the sauce; sodium in the canned tomatoes and crabmeat should be enough.
  • Adjust the amount of lemon juice according the taste of tomato sauce. You can also add slightly more heavy cream toward the end to make the sauce milder, especially when the tomato sauce has a strong sour note.
  • If you use a large lemon for zest, lemon juice is optional.
  • Depending on pasta, boiling it exactly for the time specified on the package could result in pasta that is too soft when mixed in sauce (less common with pricier products).
  • When 100 g dry pasta (with 0mg sodium) is boiled in 1.5% salted water, the cooked pasta (240-250 g) would have about 400 mg sodium. 
  • Other than sauteing garlic until it is golden brown, everything goes quickly for the sauce. You can easily adjust the timing of sauce preparation to have it ready when pasta is done.
  • The original recipe is Crabmeat Tagliatelle in Creamy Lemon-Tomato Sauce by Vivante Ristrorante (closed) as listed in Pike Place Market Cookbook (2003, Sasquatch Books).

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