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Portale Family Crab Sauce

Updated on August 3, 2014

Gorgeous red sauce with succulent, meaty fresh summer crabs.

Gorgeous red sauce with succulent, meaty fresh summer crabs.
Gorgeous red sauce with succulent, meaty fresh summer crabs.


5 stars from 1 rating of Portale Crab Sauce

Nostalgia On A Plate

This dish for me is one of those meals that not only nourishes the appetite but my soul too. One bite takes me back to my summers as a kid, at my family's summer home on the water. Suddenly I am back on the boat in the middle of the night with a giant, galvanized, metal garbage can. An over sized, green net and a spot light, bright enough to find the Titanic at the ocean floor. My parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and I, would pile onto the boat with the goal of catching as many crabs as we could stuff into that old, dented, crab can. After what seemed like hours, we returned to our dock with the treasures we caught at sea, anticipating the meal that would come the following day. I can still see my aunts and mom, all cooking together in the tiny kitchen with my grandmother, making the sauce and trying to navigate around each other like a well oiled machine. Everything is the way it used to be, the house's old dark wood wainscoting is still on the walls, the old wood dining table is still crowded with a dozen hungry Italians anxiously awaiting their meal and the smell the of the sweet crab sauce is drifting nonchalantly through the house, as if it were soft background music. There is chatter and laughter as the nine cousins play together. And love, lots of love.

At the time I would have never imagined that one meal would be so memorable and would stay with me all these years. I see my family very often still, but life has changed us all. We have grown up or grown old, we all have major life responsibilities and children to care for now. I love that I can relive those memories through the food that we all shared together and I love that when I take a bite that I am back with the people I have loved my whole life, especially those that are no longer with us.

Cook Time

Cook time: 4 hours
Ready in: 4 hours
Yields: 8-10


  • 10-20 Fresh Blue Claw Crabs, cleaned
  • 2 cans Tomato Puree
  • 1 can Crushed Tomato
  • 1-3 teaspoons Salt
  • 1-3 teaspoons Sugar
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Linguine or Spaghetti
  • Water
Simmering in the pot.
Simmering in the pot.
  1. In a large saucepan add tomatoes, crabs and bay leaves. Fill 2 of the empty tomato cans with water and add to pot.
  2. Stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt.
  3. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to simmer and cover half way. Let cook as long as possible, up to 4 hours. Taste the sauce along the way and add the extra salt and sugar as needed to round out the flavor.
  4. Discard Bay Leaf, serve over steaming hot linguine or any other pasta of choice.


* The longer this cooks the better the flavor. This is also excellent the next day, as the flavors have really had a chance to develop.


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