Author Notes: I saw this interesting looking gluten free pasta at Whole Foods the other day and I had to try it out. I'm always looking for better gluten-free dried pastas and they have failed to impress me, but this red lentil pasta from Tolerant Foods was pretty good - it had a nice flavor, texture and bite to it after cooking (there is also a black bean version which I didn't try). The cream sauce I came up with based on another recipe I used frequently as a topping for crispy-skinned trout filets - which weren't available at the store when I went - so crab seemed like a logical step for a lazy, rainy Monday night. I added a little red pepper and cayenne to provide some heat and the result was a creamy, spicy, earthy sauce that I will definitely be making again. —drshakyhands
ounces dried, tube shaped pasta (I used Tolerant Foods red lentil penne)
container pre-cooked crab claw meat
bunch fresh spinach, stems trimmed, washed thoroughly and roughy chopped
cup 1/4 inch slices shiitake mushrooms
cup heavy cream
dashes cayenne pepper
dashes red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
- Set a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. You will add the pasta to the water and cook according to the package directions as you are putting the sauce together. Aim to be draining the pasta right after you are adding the crab to the sauce so that the crab will be just warmed through when you add the pasta.
- While water is coming to a boil, prepare the shallots, spinach and mushrooms. Measure out the cream and drain the crab.
- Melt butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan. When the butter is melted and sizzling, add the shallots, stirring until softened, about 2 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms. Continue to stir every now and then until the mushrooms have softened and released some of their moisture. If you need to, turn down the heat so the mushrooms don't stick and the shallots don't burn, until the moisture has mostly evaporated from the pan, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the spinach and season to taste with salt and pepper. You may need to turn the heat back up if you turned it down at this point. Sauté until the spinach is mostly wilted, about 1 minute.
- Add the cream to the pan. Add red pepper and cayenne to taste (I like it spicy, so I added about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of each). Turn the heat down to low, stir to combine all the ingredients, and allow the cream to thicken for 1-2 minutes.
- At this point, your pasta should be almost done and nearly ready to drain. Taste to make sure it is al dente. Add the crab to the thickening cream sauce, stir to combine. The goal is to heat the crab thoroughly without overcooking it, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add drained pasta to the sauce, stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
- Serve hot and garnish as desired - parmesan cheese, feta cheese, parsley, chives, etc.