For author Colu Henry, shellfish with pasta screams summer and conjures up memories of sand and sea. This dish combines delicate, sweet crabmeat with anise-y fennel, which play nicely together for a simple, light pasta, perfect for the warmer weather. Fresh herbs such as the mint and basil add additional brightness and layers of flavor. Feel free to “back pocket” your way around this dish, substituting quickly sautéed shrimp or a flaky white fish for the crab and playing with delicate herbs such as tarragon, chives, and chervil.
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting fat and salt. Drain pasta over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking liquid for the sauce.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add fennel; sauté 7 minutes. Add crushed red pepper, salt, and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add crab; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta and reserved 3/4 cup pasta cooking liquid; toss to coat. Stir in 3 tablespoons parsley.
Divide pasta mixture among 4 bowls; top evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, basil, and mint. Serve with lemon wedges.
Adapted from Back Pocket Pasta: Inspired Dinners to Cook on the Fly, by Colu Henry