Wednesday 5 April 2023


I absolutely adored Manteca, a new hip and happening East London pasta and Italian small plates spot with natural wine, when I went there for a belated birthday dinner in February.

The stand out dish of the dinner was hands down their crab cacio e Pepe, a dish so good I had been thinking of recreating at home ever since polishing off a plate between me and my dining companion in what felt like seconds.

Somehow the addition of brown crab to this in its own right super iconic and super simple pasta dish (I mean it is basically made from butter, cheese, pasta, pasta water and freshly ground black pepper), elevates the dish into something quite frankly quite spectacular!

I sort of made up the recipe and went a little rogue from its original inspiration, adding some pan fried samphire as finishing touch on top samphire, but omg the end result was STUNNING!!!

The salty samphire, pan fried in butter, works so well with the brown crab and silky sauce that is created in the cacio e Pepe making process.

This little recipe is a new favourite and I cannot wait to rustle it up for my next dinner party!!



  • 400g Spaghetti
  • 20g Freshly ground black pepper
  • 50g Butter
  • 70g Grated Pecorino Romano plus more to finish
  • 200g Brown crab (I get mine from Waitrose)
  • 90g Samphire (again I get this from Waitrose)
  • A knob of butter

  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil. 
  • Add salt until the water tastes highly seasoned – but not like the sea. 
  • Cook according to the packet’s instructions or a couple of minutes for fresh pasta.
  • Pan fry the samphire in a knob of butter until soft, then 
  • Start the sauce a few minutes before the pasta is ready. 
  • Toast the black pepper in a dry pan until fragrant, but don’t let it burn (about a minute). 
  • Add the butter, brown crab  and a big ladle of pasta water, then let it boil together until emulsified.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling emulsification with the cheese. 
  • Toss rapidly until well combined and all the pasta is coated. 
  • Plate the pasta, and grate more Pecorino over the top and top with the samphire.
  • ENJOY!

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