Melissa Hemsley’s crab and courgette spaghetti recipe

This reminds me of both Italy and Scilly (not Sicily!) – the beautiful Isles of Scilly, 27 miles off the coast of Cornwall, where I’ve eaten the tastiest seafood of my life. This dish is speedy but special. When I have friends coming over, it is a fail-safe meal that looks and tastes impressive but is ready in a flash, so I can relax and spend time with my loved ones. Good-quality crab meat is expensive but a little goes a long way. I find this combination of three parts white crab meat to one part brown goes down a treat.

Crab and courgette spaghetti
Lizzie Mayson


400g dried spaghetti
3 tbsp butter or olive oil, plus extra to finish (optional)
4 spring onions, finely sliced
3 big garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded if you prefer and finely sliced, or a good pinch of chilli flakes, plus extra to serve (optional)
2 medium courgettes, roughly grated (400g)
200g British crab meat (150g white and 50g brown meat)
1 big handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 tsp grated zest
Sea salt and black pepper
1 handful of grated Parmesan, to serve (optional)

  1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, with a lid on for speed, then add the spaghetti and cook according to the packet instructions – I cook it for just under a minute less than the specified time. Drain the spaghetti, reserving a mugful of the starchy cooking water.
  2. Once the spaghetti is in the pot, heat up the butter in a large, deep-sided frying pan, add the spring onions, garlic and chilli and stir-fry on a medium heat for 2 minutes, letting the garlic soften but not brown. Add the grated courgette and a generous pinch of salt and pepper, then turn up the heat, mix everything together well and fry for another 4 minutes, stirring regularly, until the courgette liquid evaporates.
  3. Take off the heat and stir in the flaked crab meat, parsley and lemon juice and zest.
  4. Quickly add the spaghetti to the crab pan, adding around half a mug of the reserved pasta cooking water and gently tossing as you go, so you get a beautiful glossy sheen. Add more of the pasta cooking water if needed, and you could add an extra drizzle of olive oil or knob of butter at this stage. Taste for seasoning and serve straight away with some extra chilli or black pepper and the grated Parmesan, if using (I am pro seafood and cheese!).

VARIATION Swap the crab for 4 handfuls of chopped artichoke hearts and olives and omit the Parmesan for a delicious veggie alternative.

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Feel Good
Our recipes are from Feel Good by Melissa Hemsley, to be published on 19 May by Ebury Press, price £22. To order a copy for £18.70 until 22 May go to or call 020 3176 2937. Free p&p on orders over £20.