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 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
How to Make It
Combine labneh, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, garlic, and oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Set aside.
Cook pasta as package directs.
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.
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.
*Find labneh at Middle Eastern markets, Aleppo pepper in some stores' spice aisles, and Aleppo and Urfa biber at worldspice.com