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. 


The Ingredients

Crayfish Pasta Ingredients

  • 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 head
  • 2 cups fish stock (sub vegetable stock)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Grated parmesan to serve

The Recipe

Crayfish Pasta Recipe

TIP: Always boil your crayfish in clean salt water or salted water. For salted water just add salt to fresh water until it tastes similar to the ocean. Boiling it this way maximises the flavour and ensures the flavour of the meat is maintained. You'll notice a big taste difference between crays cooked in fresh water and salt water.

  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.