Asian Food Network host and chef Sarah Huang Benjamin shares a recipe that marries Singaporean black pepper crab with Italian cacio e pepe. Black pepper unites the two, culminating in a cheesy seafood pasta that will have you asking for seconds.
250g spaghetti, uncooked
1/2 tbsp black pepper, freshly ground + more for serving
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 cup crab meat, cooked
3/4 cup Parmesan, freshly grated + more for serving
Cook spaghetti in a pot of salted boiling water according to package instructions, or until al dente.
Meanwhile, in a pan off the heat, add freshly ground pepper.
Place the pan over medium heat to dry-toast the pepper until fragrant. Reduce heat to medium-low and add butter. Once butter is melted, add garlic, cooking slowly to infuse flavors, about a minute. (You may need to reduce heat to low.)
Add water and oyster sauce. Let the sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Transfer pasta into the sauce with tongs, reserving the pasta water. Stir until coated. If the sauce looks dry, ladle pasta water into the pan to loosen.
Once pasta is almost cooked, stir in crab meat. Ladle in pasta water if needed.
Turn off the heat. Scatter Parmesan over the pasta. Stir the pasta vigorously, agitating the pan if needed, to emulsify the cheese into the sauce.
Divide between plates or low bowls. Garnish with black pepper and more Parmesan, and serve.
Cacio e pepe traditionally uses pecorino cheese, but it can be too sharp and pungent for this recipe. Here we use Parmesan, specifically Parmigiano Reggiano.