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Spaghetti with Crab Sauce

INGREDIENTS
Sauce Base:
3 TBSP olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
Shells from 8-10 blue claw crabs
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Tops from 1 fennel bulb, chopped
4 bay leaves

Finished Sauce:
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup fennel bulb, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping TBSP tomato paste
A 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
2 cups of the crab sauce base
Tabasco garlic-pepper sauce to taste, or other hot sauce
1 cup cooked crabmeat
1 lb. dried spaghetti
Chives, green onions or parsley to garnish

DIRECTIONS
To prepare the sauce base, put the onions and olive oil in a stockpot and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the crab shells and the garlic. Stir to combine.
Use a potato masher to smash the crab shells into small pieces.
Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
Add the bay leaves, the tops from the fennel bulb, and a healthy pinch of salt.
Add enough water to cover everything by 1 inch.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.
Turn off the heat and pick out as much of the solids as possible, making sure you save the liquid.
Strain the liquid through a paper towel set in a colander.
Reserve.
To finish the sauce, heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or other large, wide pot over medium-high heat.
Saute the onions and chopped fennel until they are soft and translucent, about 6-8 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Mix in the tomato paste and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until it darkens and turns the color of brick.
Add the tomatoes and 2 cups of the crab sauce base.
Stir well and bring to a simmer.
Taste for salt and add the Tabasco to taste.
Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Boil your pasta.
Once the pasta is ready, add the crabmeat to the sauce and stir gently.
Mix the pasta with a little of the sauce, then portion it out.
Top with more sauce and garnish with chives or parsley


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