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Bushbuck Bites: Crayfish Pasta with Tomato and Basil

Bushbuck Bites: Crayfish Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil


Summer is the season for crayfish and this crayfish pasta recipe from Kaleah James, aka Kaelah's Wild Kai Kitchen, is a great way to dress up this seafood delicacy. Succulent crayfish tossed through pasta with a cherry tomato, fennel, white wine and crayfish gravy sauce, finished off with parmesan, lemon zest and fragrant basil. There is a bit of prep work that goes into this dish, but it's 100% worth it. If you're lucky enough to have a supply of crayfish, make sure to give this crayfish pasta recipe a go. The crayfish used in this recipe were caught during a family diving trip in Kaikōura. 


  • 1 medium to large crayfish

  • 400g linguine OR spaghetti

  • 1 red onion

  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced

  • 1 fennel bulb, finely sliced

  • 500g cherry tomatoes

  • Bunch of basil leaves (half finely diced plus whole leaves to serve)

  • 1 cup white wine

  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste

  • Reserved crayfish mustard from the head

  • 2 cups fish stock (substitute: vegetable stock)

  • 1 Tbsp sugar

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon

  • Grated parmesan to serve

Kaelah James Fresh Crayfish Pasta Recipe KJ and Crayfish


  1. Bring a large pot of clean salt water to boil, add crayfish and boil for 9 mins.

  2. Once cooked, place the crayfish into a bowl of ice water to cool. S

  3. tarting just below the mouth of the crayfish, split back towards the head then back towards the tail. Discard sac and gills.

  4. With a spoon, scrape out the mustard (yellow stuff) from the body and place into a bowl for later.

  5. Remove the tail meat and cut into small chunks, set aside.

  6. Cook pasta according to packet directions. Drain, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Give it a good toss through and set aside.

  7. Heat oil in a large pan or pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, fennel, tomatoes and chopped basil.

  8. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5-6mins until the tomatoes begin to soften.

  9. Add wine and cook until it's reduced by half

  10. Add in stock, tomato paste, crayfish mustard and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes or until mixture has slightly thickened and tomatoes have completely softened.

  11. Add sugar and season with salt and pepper.

  12. Add crayfish meat and pasta back to the pan and mix gently to combine. 

To serve, place crayfish halves on a platter and top with crayfish spaghetti. Squeeze over fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, whole basil leaves and grated parmesan. Serve immediately.

Bushbuck Bites_Crayfish Pasta with Tomato and Basil_The Recipe
Bushbuck Bites_Crayfish Pasta with Tomato and Basil_The Recipe 1
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Kaelah James
Kaelah James

Kaelah James, aka Kaelah's Wild Kai Kitchen, is a New Zealand speafisher, huntress and incredible wild food cook. She's built up a following on Instagram by sharing her delicious recipes and she's now come on board as a Bushbuck ambassador and contributor to The Campfire blog. She will be sharing wild food and catch-and-cook recipes, as well as the stories behind hunting and gathering the kai. 

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