Corsican Crayfish Linguine

Voilà!  Corsican Crayfish Linguine.
Voilà! Corsican Crayfish Linguine.

A regional dish that brings together two of the best elements of Corsica’s dual heritage: pasta and seafood.  This recipe gets the thumbs up from today’s guest eater.  This pasta dish sings of the sea, with a lovely depth of flavour and gentle heat.   Recipe courtesy of Gabriel Gaté and SBS.


  • 1 cooked crayfish, about 500 g (1 lb)
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 10 fennel seeds
  • 10 cumin seeds
  • 1 small chilli, not too hot (I added a bigger chilli – I like a bit of heat!)
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp brandy
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) dry white wine
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 150 g (5 oz) fresh linguine  (I used 250g, but sauce does not really stretch that far)
  • 6 small basil leaves
  • ½ clove garlic, chopped

How to do it

Well.  Where do I start?  I have Mr Crayfish sitting on my chopping block looking at me.  I have a very sharp and dangerous looking knife and I am currently in possession of all my fingers and thumbs.  Thinking that I would like to keep it that way, I chicken out and phone a friend.  Okay, I phone mum to ask what I should do with Mr Crayfish (besides give it cute names that I will come to regret once I actually stick the knife in…).

Mr Crayfish...
Mr Crayfish…

Armed with my mum’s wisdom, I rip the head off, peel the shell and carve up the tail (and yes, my fingers and thumbs remain in tact!).  It was really easy when it came down to it, so don’t be put off by those little beady eyes looking at you!


So with Mr Crayfish sorted out, I turn my attention to the more mundane task of chopping, slicing and dicing – onion, tomato, chilli, garlic, basil until I have everything ready to start cooking…

Mise en Place (French cheffy phrase which means "putting in place", as in set up everything)
Mise en Place (French cheffy phrase which means “putting in place”, as in set up everything)

To start cooking heat up a little of your olive oil over a medium heat in a heavy based saucepan.  Thow in the onion and the chopped up bits of crayfish shell along with legs. Stir for a minute or two before adding in chilli, cumin and fennel seeds followed by the flour and tomato paste.  Stir for a moment or two more until combined and to ‘cook off’ the flour.

Hmmm, chilli
Hmmm, chilli

Finally, add the chopped tomatoes, brandy and white wine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and give it a stir.  Put the lid on and turn down the heat to a gentle simmer for 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile put on a large pot of salted water to boil.

Bubble, bubble...
Bubble, bubble…

Check the sauce after 15 minutes.  I was not convinced that there was enough ‘juice’  in my pot to make a decent volume of sauce, so I topped up a little with a splash of water and a drop more white wine and cooked a few minutes longer.  In hindsight, probably would not worry about it as quite a lot of liquid is released when you strain the sauce. I think I only succeeded in thinning out my sauce a bit more than necessary, and we don’t want that!

Straining the liquid
Straining the liquid

Return the strained sauce to the pan and add in your chopped crayfish flesh to warm through.  With the heat on medium, gently stir to coat.  Do not let the pot come back to the boil as the pre-cooked crayfish could toughen and become a bit rubbery. Meanwhile, add your fresh pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook according to packet instructions.


Once your sauce is heated through turn off the heat and strain your pasta.  Return the cooked pasta to the pot and stir through your warmed sauce.  Finish with the fresh chopped garlic, basil leaves and olive oil for a beautiful fresh kick.

Curl up in front of Stage 2 of Le Tour and enjoy!

Voilà!  Corsican Crayfish Linguine.
Voilà! Corsican Crayfish Linguine.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Karen Mason says:

    Looks wonderful, I bet it taste’s better, will have to try out the recipe very soon. Karen

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