A plate of gnocchetti with crab

How to make gnocchi with crab, cognac, and marjoram

Gnocchi with crab and cognac is fun and a little unusual. I adapted the recipe from the side of a box of canned crab meat. We love canned seafood and keep our cupboards stocked. This comes in handy on busy nights when dinner ideas run short. My boyfriend was out the other night and I needed something quick and delicious for one and a can of crab meat was my easy solution.

A recipe on the box suggested serving the crab meat with gnocchi, fresh tomatoes, brandy, and marjoram. While it’s January and I had no fresh tomatoes, I loved the idea of pairing marjoram with crab. The warm, sweet, and slightly bitter flavor of marjoram is one of my favorites. There was also no brandy on my shelf but I did have cognac and a bag of tiny gnocchi, or gnocchetti, in the fridge and decided to give it a go.

Crabmeat is sweet and a splash of cognac added complexity. I also thought the marjoram and crab were a great pairing. Although be careful not to use too much cognac or marjoram. This recipe could easily tip into flavor overload especially as crab, cognac, and marjoram are all slightly sweet. I also want to try it again in the summer with some fresh tomatoes. Their acidic flavor is likely a nice addition.

I don’t make gnocchi often as I can buy it fresh in Italy for a couple of dollars. So while I don’t yet have a recipe for it on my blog, there are obviously a lot of gnocchi recipes out there you can find with a quick google. I did really like the crab with the little gnocchi pillows of potato, but you could also give this a go with another fresh pasta or even a dry pasta.

Gnocchi with canned crab, cognac, and marjoram

Serves 2 – While I was making dinner for 1, I made portions for 2 and saved half.

  • 1 can of crab meat (150 grams – 90 grams meat plus liquid)
  • A splash of cognac or brandy
  • 1 or 2 sprigs of fresh marjoram
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Gnocchi (250 grams)
  1. Cook the garlic over medium heat in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan or pot large enough to eventually hold the gnocchi. Cook the garlic until it is golden and then remove, or leave in if you like.
  2. Add the crab and liquid from the can to the pan with the olive oil. Add water if needed and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Turn up the heat and add the cognac. Cook for about a minute until the smell of alcohol dissipates. Add more water if it gets too dry.
  4. Turn down the heat back down to medium and add the leaves from the marjoram sprigs, mix well, and cook for a few minutes more. Add more water if needed. Taste and add salt if needed.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi.
  6. Drain the gnocchi and add to the pan with the crab along with some of the pasta water. Turn up the heat and toss for about 30 seconds to a minute.
  7. Plate, season with black pepper, and serve.

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