To make the troccoli pasta dough – Dissolve the salt into the water. Pour the flour onto your workbench and make a well in the centre with the back of your hand. Pour the salted water into the well. Begin mixing with your fingers, slowly incorporating the flour into the water. Continue to combine the flour and water until it comes together into a loose dough. Collect all the flour and knead the dough for at least ten minutes until firm and smooth. Make a ball from the dough, wrap in cling film, and rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours before rolling.
Roll the pasta dough into sheets 2.5mm thick and 25cm long. Cut the pasta using a chitarra, a troccoli rolling pin, or the tagliolini cutter on a pasta machine. If you don’t have any of these, use a sharp knife and carefully cut by hand.
To prepare the crabs – boil a large pot of salted water and cook the crabs for 5 minutes, then remove from the water using tongs, reserving the water. Place the crabs into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Remove the main shell from the crabs and set aside. Scoop the pulp or ‘crab mustard’ from each crab and set aside. Carefully pick all the meat from the body and legs of the crabs and set aside, reserving the shells.
For the sauce – place another saucepan over a medium-high heat, add the oil, wine, and crab shells and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the shells from the liquid, add the garlic and chilli, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the crab mustard and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes with a pinch of salt and combine. Turn the heat down, put the lid on the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes. Combine well and season to taste.
To finish – boil the troccoli in the reserved crab water for 10 minutes or until al dente. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce along with the chopped parsley and a few splashes of the pasta water. Toss the pasta through the sauce for 2 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken and emulsify. In a small saucepan, add a splash of olive oil and gently heat up the set aside crab meat with a pinch of salt.
To serve – divide the pasta onto plates and scatter the crab meat over the pasta. Finish with fresh parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.
400g portion durum pasta dough
2 fresh spanner crabs
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1-2 hot red chillies, sliced
200ml extra virgin olive oil
200ml white wine
4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
½ bunch parsley, chopped
durum pasta dough
500g durum flour
1 tbsp olive oil