Crab Bolognese

This is a riff on the classic meat sauce from Bologna, Italy. Unlike its namesake there is not a speck of red meat in sight, just the briny, sweet, luscious lump king crab that is folded in the end after it’s more or less, traditional Bolognaise beginnings.

As I have mentioned numerous times before, batch cooking is a great feature of sous vide and the sous vide cooking technique. This sauce, as its cooked conventionally for well over an hour could hurt the tender moist crustaceans pristine flesh by overheating. As 99% of the time the King Crab that you find in your local markets has already been cooked (either at sea or immediately upon docking) all that’s needed (if your planning on serving it warm) is a very gentle reheat. That’s where the precise temperature controls of the SV1 really shines. After the base of our “Bolognaise” has simmered away, it’s cooled and the chilled crab gets added. Now, is the perfect time to portion up your sauce either in a large party size portion or individual sizes for easy peasy meals in minutes. All you need to do is warm up the sauce in the SV1 and when ready toss it with your favorite pasta - amazing!

Now you can jump right in before you cool the sauce and fold in the crab and “mangia” to your hearts content! Although I find that’s a disservice to all your hard work. Allowing the crab to simmer away but not overcook and toughen due to the controlled temperatures of the SV1 for a minimum of 30 minutes is perfect. The sauce coaxes the flavor from the crab and the two blend beautifully together truly completing the dish. Not to mention it offers the cook the opportunity to portion and store a truly amazing and delicious meal that you can have ready in minutes for guests, family or just yourself!

crab bolognese ingredients


• 2 tablespoons olive oil, evcp or similar

• 1/2 red onion, cut into small dice

• 1 carrot, peeled and cut into small dice

• 2 celery stalk, trimmed and cut into small dice

• 1 cup white wine, dry

• 6 cups seafood stock/crab stock/vegetable etc.

• 28 ounces chopped fresh or canned tomatoes

• salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste

• 1/4 cup garlic puree

• 1 cup heavy cream

• 2-3 tablespoons thyme, fresh, stemmed and chopped fine

• 1 pound crab meat, lump, highest quality

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh, to taste

For serving:

• 1 pound tagliatelle pasta, or similar, bronze cut if possible

crab bolognese image


1. Place a large heavy bottomed high sided skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.

2. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring for 5 minutes.

3. Add the wine and cook down about 5-6 minutes or until the wine is almost totally evaporated.

4. Add the stock and tomatoes and season with the salt, chili flakes and garlic puree.

5. Cook stirring from time to time until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds and very thick, about 45 minutes to a 1 hour or so.

6. Add the cream and the thyme, bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes.

7. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool to room temperature

8. Fold the chilled lump crab meat into the cooled sauce base and season to taste with the lemon juice.

9. Using the VacMaster bag filler and appropriate sized VacMaster bag(s) portion the sauce individually or in bulk sizes as you see fit.

10. Store the vacuum and portioned Crab Bolognaise in the refrigerator or freezer until needed.

crab bolognese photo

For Serving:

1. Preheat the VacMaster SV1 to 140°F/60°C

2. Place the vacuum bag(s) of sauce in the water bath of the SV1 for a minimum of 30 minutes.

3. While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of all salted water to boil over high heat.

4. Add the tagliatelle and cook until tender, drain, reserving some of the pasta cooking liquid.

5. In an appropriately sized mixing bowl combine the drained hot pasta with the Crab Bolognaise and a bit of the reserved pasta cooking water

6. Using tongs gently mix until the pasta is completely coated in the creamy sauce, serve immediately.

crab bolognese picture