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Heat the oil in a large frying pan and boil the kettle for the pasta. Add the shallot to the oil and gently sizzle for 5 mins until soft. Add the garlic and chilli, and cook for another 1-2 mins.
Tip the kettle of hot water into a large pan, add the pasta and cook following pack instructions. Meanwhile, add the dressed crab to the frying pan. Drain the tomatoes over a bowl and tip the juice into the pan. Add the sugar, cream (if using) and some seasoning. Bubble gently while the pasta cooks.
Just before the pasta is finished, add the cherry tomatoes and crabmeat chunks to the pan, stir for 1-2 mins, then drain the pasta (reserve a little pasta water) and add this too. Cook everything for another min, adding a splash of pasta water if the sauce looks dry, then season to taste. Stir through the herbs, if you like, and serve.