Fettuccine with Balmain Bugs

Recipes | Pan-Frying | Pasta Serves 4 as an entrée Fettuccine with Balmain Bugs

This recipe is inspired by a dish Stefano Manfredi cooked with yabbies at Manta in Woolloomooloo, and will work equally well with any crustacean. For best results use pasta made with eggs (all’uovo).


6 green Balmain Bugs (see notes)
250g fettuccine
100g butter
2 golden shallots, finely diced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup chopped chervil
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 


Drop chilled Bugs into a large saucepan of well-salted, rapidly boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Strain and run under cold water to arrest cooking. 

Rinse and refill saucepan, salt well and return to the boil. When boiling, add pasta. 

Meanwhile, turn Bugs over and cut down either side of the underside of the tail shell using kitchen scissors, peel shell back and remove meat. Slice in half, remove the digestive tract (grey thread) running down the middle of the tail meat and cut meat into bite-sized chunks.

Melt butter in a frying pan. When foaming, add shallots and sesame seeds and cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until shallots are soft but not coloured. Add Bug meat to the pan and stir well.

Drain cooked pasta, add to the pan with chervil, toss well to coat in butter. Taste, add salt and pepper and serve in warmed bowls.


If bugs are live, chill them in the freezer for 30-45 minutes to kill them before cooking (see NSW Department of Primary Industries or RSPCA for more details).

Alternative species:

Marron, Moreton Bay Bug, Prawns, Redclaw, Rock Lobsters, Scampi, Yabby.

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