Crab Minestrone with Stuffed Shells



For the soup

  • 1/2 Cup  olive oil
  • live hard-shell crabs
  • 1 Cup  chopped celery, divided
  • 1/2 Cup  chopped leeks
  • 1/2 Cup  chopped fresh basil
  • cloves garlic
  • 1 Cup  tomato sauce
  • 8 Cups  chicken stock
  • 1 Tablespoon  coarse salt
  • 1 Tablespoon  peppercorns
  • 1/2 Cup  diced carrots
  • 1/2 Cup  green beans
  • 1/2 Cup  tomato concasse
  • 1/2 Cup  chopped spinach
  • 1 Cup  white beans, cooked

For the crabmeat-stuffed shells

  • 1/4 Pound  small pasta shells
  • 3 Tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1/4 Cup  breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 Cup  butter
  • 3/4 Cups  lump crabmeat
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  coarse salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon  freshly ground pepper

A great  bowl of minestrone is hard not to love, but is even better with some fresh crabs thrown in and served alongside crabmeat stuffed shells. The crabmeat makes it a more substantial meal, and the minestrone is a great sauce for the shells.


For the soup

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add crabs, ½ cup of the celery, leeks, basil and 6 cloves of the garlic. Sauté, stirring for 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, broth, salt and peppercorns.

Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming and discarding foam that rises to the top. Drain the broth and discard vegetables. Return broth to soup pot and bring to a simmer.

Mince the last two cloves of garlic. Reduce the broth to approximately 1 ½ quarts. Add carrots, the rest of the celery, and the green beans and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato concasse, spinach, white beans, minced garlic, salt and pepper and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

For the crabmeat-stuffed shells

Cook the pasta shells in boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain, discard any broken shells, and toss the remainder of shells with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Reserve.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the breadcrumbs and butter with crabmeat, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Spoon the crabmeat mixture into a pastry bag and using a small tip, fill each shell. Coat a baking pan with remaining olive oil and place filled shells in pan. Bake for 10 minutes.


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