I used to think that there wasn’t anything you could do to improve upon spaghetti carbonara. It was already so perfect – a creamy sauce of pancetta, Parmesan, and silky eggs that gently coated each spaghetti noodle. How could you possibly make that any better? With the discovery of this recipe, I found my answer – add crab and Meyer lemons. That’s how.
Seafood and lemons have always been a winning combination but when the lemons happen to be Meyer lemons, the flavor is a show stopper. Meyer lemons impart a fragrant lemon taste without a hint of tartness. It’s just the thing to complement the crab. The fact that these Meyer lemons happen to come from my sister’s tree makes them extra special.
The sweet flavor of Meyer lemons plays a big part in this recipe. So, I would not recommend substituting regular lemons for the Meyer lemons here. Not to mention the bright orange-yellow zest adds beautiful color to the final dish.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 ounces pancetta, chopped
- 2 medium shallots, minced (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley plus more for serving
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Zest of 3 Meyer lemons
- 1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
- 1/2 pound lump crabmeat
- 11 ounces dry spaghetti
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup toasted bread crumbs
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until the shallots are golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add the pancetta mixture and whisk together. Add the Meyer lemon zest and juice. Whisk to combine. Gently stir in the crab. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and immediately add the hot pasta to the egg and crab mixture. Add the butter, then toss the pasta quickly and thoroughly to make sure all of the strands are coated and that the ingredients are well mixed.
- To serve, divide the pasta among four plates and sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs and chopped parsley.
Use freshly grated parmesan cheese rather than pre-grated. Pre-grated cheese is usually coated in something to prevent clumping (like cellulose powder) which will keep the cheese from melting smoothly.
Recipe from James Beard Foundation.