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Photo: Maren Caruso; Styling: Nissa Quanstrom Photo by: Photo: Maren Caruso; Styling: Nissa Quanstrom

Dungeness Crab and Garlicky Yogurt Pasta

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.

Sunset FEBRUARY 2013

  • Yield: Serves 6 (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)


  • 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


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.

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

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 583
  • Calories from fat: 40%
  • Protein: 28g
  • Fat: 27g
  • Saturated fat: 13g
  • Carbohydrate: 60g
  • Fiber: 2.8g
  • Sodium: 575mg
  • Cholesterol: 74mg

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Dungeness Crab and Garlicky Yogurt Pasta recipe