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Dungeness Crab and Garlicky Yogurt Pasta

Photo: Maren Caruso; Styling: Nissa Quanstrom
Yield Serves 6 (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)
At Saffron in Walla Walla, Washington, Chris Ainsworth fills tiny Turkish dumplings called manti with Dungeness crab and thick yogurt. We shamelessly took the easy route, with store-bought pasta, and used yogurt as a sauce. But we kept the touch of saffron and fruity Aleppo pepper.


  • 2 cups labneh, homemade or store-bought*, or plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed with 1/4 tsp. salt in a mortar and pestle
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound dried pappardelle pasta or 1 1/4 lbs. fresh fettuccine
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 pound shelled cooked Dungeness crab
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed small fresh dill sprigs
  • About 2 tsp. Aleppo pepper*, Urfa biber*, or ground ancho chile

Nutrition Information

  • calories 583
  • caloriesfromfat 40 %
  • protein 28 g
  • fat 27 g
  • satfat 13 g
  • carbohydrate 60 g
  • fiber 2.8 g
  • sodium 575 mg
  • cholesterol 74 mg

How to Make It

  1. Combine labneh, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, garlic, and oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Set aside.

  2. Cook pasta as package directs.

  3. Meanwhile, pulverize saffron with a mortar and pestle. Add 1/2 cup hot pasta water and loosen saffron bits. Pour into a small saucepan, add butter, and heat until simmering; keep hot. Microwave labneh-lemon mixture until hot but not boiling, 1 minute. Rinse crab with hot water in a strainer to warm.

  4. Drain pasta and return to pot. Toss with saffron butter. Add labneh mixture, crab, half of dill, and a little Aleppo pepper and toss very loosely to mix slightly. Pour into a warm rimmed bowl. Sprinkle with remaining dill and a little more Aleppo pepper. Serve with more Aleppo pepper at the table.

  5. *Find labneh at Middle Eastern markets, Aleppo pepper in some stores' spice aisles, and Aleppo and Urfa biber at

Saffron, Walla Walla, Washington