Add the extra water if the dish seems a little dry. Whatever the heavens may think, now the last sugary crumbs of Easter bunny are but an irritating stain on the sofa cushions, it is time to put away wintery things, and turn our attention to lighter, more spring-like fare. I'm going to finish off the dish with a flourish of extra virgin olive oil, as the River Cafe suggests, rather than Aikens' butter: after all, we've all eaten quite enough of that on our jacket potatoes and crumpets over the past few months. If nothing else, it might finally shame the weather into behaving a little more appropriately. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian, Tom Aikens' crab linguine. Add the pasta and cook until it is firm — really al dente. The aniseedy sweetness is a classic pairing with crab, but I think it would work better raw than boiled with the pasta. Or are you still firmly in winter hibernation mode? Stir and allow to come to a simmer. Not close enough, however – although the flavour is good, it dissolves into a soggy mess in the pan. Add the zest of half a lemon and the juice of all of it, and then stir in the brown crabmeat. Place the pasta in a large serving bowl or platter and drizzle with olive oil. —Sam Sifton. Garlic, however, as used with gay abandon by everyone else, seems to be the key to this dish: finely chopped, it melts into the sauce, and the slight heat is an excellent foil to the sweetness of the seafood. If nothing else, it might finally shame the weather into behaving a little more appropriately. The brown meat, which is stirred into an onion and white wine base, lends the entire dish a rich, crustaceous flavour. Add the tomatoes, crushing them by hand as you do so, as well as the parsley and red-pepper flakes. Pour the crab sauce over the pasta, scatter the basil leaves over the top and season aggressively with black pepper. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. They pile the sweeter, fluffier white meat on top of the dish to serve, but I'm going to toss it through at the last minute, so it clings to the strands of pasta, while retaining its distinctive texture – almost like a fishy parmesan. Perhaps Italian chefs prefer to keep the rest for sandwiches. Crab linguine, in my opinion, fits the bill perfectly, being both chock-full of the kind of zesty flavours that encourage the pleasant delusion one is sitting on a Neapolitan terrace in the spring sunshine, and comfortingly starchy, especially when served in very un-Italian quantities on a chilly British evening. In any case, I prefer the tanginess of the River Cafe's lemon juice and the Old Market House's white wine, although Hartnett uses both, which makes her dish rather too acidic for my taste. This delightful recipe is adapted from one in Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli’s “The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual,” written with Peter Meehan. It’s for a fantastic dish of spaghetti and crabs that was taught to them by Tony Durazzo, a Carroll Gardens raconteur and friend of the Spuntino, in which crabs are simmered in tomato sauce and then served to the side of a platter of spaghetti covered in that same sauce, now infused with the flavor of the crustaceans. For an added boost of protein and nutrients, I love using whole wheat pasta for this recipe. Drain the pasta, reserving a few spoonfuls of the cooking water, and toss with the sauce, along with the white crabmeat and parsley. hatever the heavens may think, now the last sugary crumbs of Easter bunny are but an irritating stain on the sofa cushions, it is time to put away wintery things, and turn our attention to lighter, more spring-like fare. Add the In a dish as simple as this, every ingredient must be chosen with care, particularly pungent members of the onion family. This is a dish that will really come into its own in a few weeks' time, when the native brown crab season kicks off in earnest, but in the meantime, there's no harm in a little practice. Tom Aikens uses a vastly involved crab stock in his recipe, which demands quite some preparation – with the sauce as well, his dish takes three times as long to prepare as anyone else's. Serves 4400g linguine1tbsp olive oil2 garlic cloves, finely chopped1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped1tsp fennel seeds, crushed1 lemon200g brown crabmeat200g white crabmeatSmall bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly choppedExtra virgin olive oil, to finish. Season to taste, and divide between bowls. Turn the heat up to high and add the crabs. Which dishes are guaranteed to bring a splash of sunshine to your dining table? Old Market House crab linguine. As I love the lemon zest she also uses, I'm going for lemon juice: the wine will make an excellent accompaniment instead. It would make a lovely little starter, but it's not the fresh, Mediterranean pasta I'm looking for. The Old Market House, meanwhile, goes with onion, which I find a bit boring in this context, although the spring onions on top work very well with the crab meat. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. The only one I find which does use it, from Brixham's Old Market House restaurant, happens to be the last I try – and it's a revelation. A comforting bowl of pasta dressed with fresh, zesty crab is perfect spring fare – and this shellfish is just coming into season too, despite the weather. Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted boiling water until al dente. When it begins to shimmer, add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until it is fragrant. Then make a mess, eating it. It is a digital cookbook and cooking guide alike, available on all platforms, that helps home cooks of every level discover, save and organize the world’s best recipes, while also helping them become better, more competent cooks. I prefer the fruity acidity of fresh red chillies, as used by Aikens, Hartnett and the River Cottage to the River Cafe's dried version. Featured in: Photograph: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian, River Cottage crab linguine. The Old Market House goes for a white wine and cream sauce, which, together with the brown crabmeat, makes the dish very rich indeed. For me, however, it's simply a distraction from the main attraction: the crab. Which dishes or ingredients scream "spring" to you – even when the weather seems to be saying the opposite? Anyway, I digress: the stock is lovely, but I think you can achieve a far greater intensity of flavour with brown crabmeat at rather less cost to your own time. I am very keen on their fennel seeds, however: the more intensely sweet, slightly mentholated flavour works better than the fresh stuff here as far as I'm concerned, especially with the chilli and Hartnett's lemon zest. As simplicity is key here, I'm not sold on the River Cafe's shaved fennel. I miss the chilli in that recipe too: it's a great pairing with crab, as anyone who has ever visited Singapore will testify, and adds a wonderful warmth to proceedings. Get recipes, tips and NYT special offers delivered straight to your inbox. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-low heat and fry the garlic, chilli and fennel seeds for a couple of minutes until soft by not coloured. If you can get it, however, spider crab would no doubt be most authentic. Although, as every fool knows, most of the crab's flavour resides in the cheaper brown meat, most recipes simply call for the more delicate white stuff. Subscribe now for full access. In contrast, River Cottage's fresh tomatoes are bland and mushy, giving the whole dish a rather grainy texture: their inferior April ripeness is clearly partly to blame, but it would take some seriously flavoursome tomatoes to come up to scratch in this context. And a change is as good as a rest, as my Irish nonna always said. Remove the crabs to a serving bowl and cover to keep warm. Felicity Cloake's perfect crab linguine. Adapted from “The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual,” by Frank Falcinelli, Frank Castronovo and Peter Meehan. Spaghetti With Crabs. (Although eating pasta with your eyes closed is not to be advised.). Photograph: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian. Zachary Zavislak; Food Stylist: Brian Preston-Campbell. Although it's already easy to find British crab in my local fishmongers, I also give tinned Vietnamese king crab a go – it's the closest thing I can find to the River Cottage Fish Book's spider crab in north London. The sweet and briny crab pairs perfectly with the dry white wine and fragrant garlic in this show-stopping Crab Linguine with White Wine Sauce recipe. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the sauce starts to boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes or so. Drizzle each bowl with a little extra virgin olive oil, and serve immediately. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.