Chefs' Recipes

Spaghettini with Hawkesbury mud crab, garlic, chilli, lemon and parsley

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for spaghettini with Hawkesbury mud crab, garlic, chilli, lemon and parsley by Dietmar Sawyere.

By Dietmar Sawyere
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking plus chilling, infusing
  • Serves 8
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Spaghettini with Hawkesbury mud crab, garlic, chilli, lemon and parsley


  • 140 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large red chilli, finely chopped
  • Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 live Hawkesbury mud crab (1.5kg; see note), placed in freezer for 30 minutes
  • 400 gm dried spaghettini
  • 2 tbsp panko crumbs (see note)
  • 10 gm butter
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • To serve: coriander cress


  • 1
    Heat 40ml extra-virgin olive oil in a frying pan over low heat, add garlic and chilli and sauté until tender (5-6 minutes). Season to taste, add lemon rind and 90ml olive oil, set aside to infuse (1-2 hours).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add crab, cover, bring to the boil, then cook uncovered until crab is just cooked and bright orange (12-13 minutes). Refresh in iced water, then pick meat from crab and set aside. You'll need 400gm.
  • 3
    Cook spaghettini in boiling salted water until al dente (7-8 minutes).
  • 4
    Meanwhile, toast panko crumbs in remaining olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat until golden (3-4 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper.
  • 5
    Gently heat infused oil over low heat. Drain pasta (reserve 50ml water) and return to pan with reserved cooking water, butter and infused oil, stir well and season to taste. Add crab meat, parsley and lemon juice, cover and stand until crab is warmed through (1-2 minutes). Toss to combine and serve hot, scattered with panko crumbs and coriander cress.


Note If Hawkesbury mud crab is unavailable, substitute another mud crab. For information on killing live mud crab humanely after chilling, go to and search for "crustacean". Alternatively, you can buy 400gm picked crab meat. Panko crumbs are Japanese breadcrumbs, available from Japanese grocers. If unavailable, substitute dried breadcrumbs. This recipe is from the January 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
Drink Suggestion: Riesling or sav blanc. Drink suggestion by Dietmar Sawyere