Toasted Angel Hair Pasta with Crab and Habanero Cream Sauce

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  • 8 oz angel hair pasta broken in half or three pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 habanero pepper seeds removed and left in 2 large pieces (use a whole pepper, seeds removed and quartered, if you like more of a kick)
  • 1 leek sliced into half-moons and washed (see post for instructions)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 8 oz lump crab picked over for bits of shell
  • 1/2 bag baby spinach 3 cups, loosely packed
  • 1 preserved lemon (use 2 if desired)
  • Kosher salt to taste

For the topping

  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 4 tbsp butter

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  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cut preserved lemon into 8 wedges. Slide a knife between the meat of the lemon and the rind, removing and discarding the flesh. Slice the rind into small pieces (this is what you will be using). See details and photos in the post.
  • Heat olive oil in large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add angel hair and salt and toast for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden brown.
  • Using tongs, remove pasta into a bowl, leaving oil in the pan.
  • Add 2 tbsp butter and sauté habanero, leeks, and garlic, for 3 minutes or until leeks are tender.
  • Add flour and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour. Slowly mix in milk, water, cream, and white wine. Add back toasted pasta and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Note: If sauce starts getting too thick, add half a cup of water. You can do this again later if you need to (it’s hard to estimate an exact half a box of pasta!).
  • Turn off heat and remove habanero. Stir in spinach and preserved lemon rind. Scatter crab meat over the top of the pasta dish.
  • Mix bread crumbs and melted butter. Top pasta with bread crumb mixture and bake for 15 minutes. Broil an additional 1-2 minutes if the top isn’t browned yet.


Calories: 743kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 1057mg | Potassium: 675mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 4617IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 229mg | Iron: 3mg

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