Fusilli with Crab and Fennel

Although crab and fennel are perhaps not ingredients you use on an every day basis, this is one of those pasta dishes that can be prepared in half an hour and is thus perfectly suited for a weekday meal. That is, if you use crab meat that has already been picked out of the claws (as I did in this case).  The crab and fennel are paired with onion, celery, garlic and a pink sauce of white wine, sieved tomatoes, cream, and cayenne pepper. This gives the dish great depth of flavor and makes it taste very special for a weekday dish that can be prepared in half an hour. The fennel and fusilli pasta provide a nice texture. Here’s what I did…


For 2 servings

225 grams (.5 lb) crab meat

150 grams (.33 lb) fusilli pasta

1 fennel bulb

1 small onion (I used half of the one pictured above)

1 celery stalk

1 clove garlic

40 grams (3 Tbsp) butter


1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley

120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine

80 ml (1/3 cup) sieved tomatoes (passata di pomodoro, tomato puree)

60 ml (1/4 cup) heavy cream


Remove the fronds, bottom, and tough core of the fennel, and dice it (1 cm or 1/2 inch dice). Mince the garlic. Dice the celery and onion (small dice, 1/2 cm or 1/4 inch).

Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the vegetables.

Cook over medium high heat, stirring, until the vegetables are coated with butter and are starting to color, 1 to 2 minutes.

Cover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring now and then.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt and fusilli, and cook al dente according to package instructions.

When the fennel is cooked but still has some bit, add the wine and cook stirring, until half of the wine has evaporated.

Then add the sieved tomatoes…

…and the cream. Stir to incorporate and cook for a minute or so until warmed through.

Add the crab meat…

…and the cayenne pepper.

When the fusilli are done, drain and add to the crab sauce.

Add most of the parsley as well.

Toss until the fusilli have ‘absorbed’ the sauce.

Serve on preheated plates, sprinkled with the remaining parsley.

Wine pairing

This is great with an oaked buttery Chardonnay, or another oaked buttery white such as a Verdicchio Riserva or Planeta Cometa (an oaked Fiano from Sicily).


A bit over two years ago I also posted a seafood pasta dish with a pink sauce, but this one more elaborate: ravioli with smoked salmon.


8 thoughts on “Fusilli with Crab and Fennel

    1. Thanks 🙂

      The crab wasn’t tinned but pasteurized fresh from Hanos. It was OK, but of course not like really fresh.

      If you are using the whole fennel, you should add dill and ground fennel seed to compensate, as the fennel bulb has a lighter flavor.


  1. Though this may be easy enough for a weekday meal, Stefan, it would make a very good meal, no matter when served. I’m still not one to cook with fennel very often but this dish is one I wish to try. If I can find a good source for the crab, it would make a great dish to serve Zia. I really do love to surprise her.
    Coincidentally, I’ll be using a “pink” sauce in tonight’s post, though it is considerably more simple than is yours.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.