You don’t need Google Translate to decipher this tasty dish. Just as our holiday last summer to northern Spain left us craving more of their culinary delights once we returned home, our recent return from Italy has been no different. We haven’t wasted anytime popping open bottles of wine, using rosso pesto on everything from sandwiches to pasta, and savoring the sweet honey on fresh bread. Now it’s time for the squid ink pasta.
As many people know, squid excrete a black ink as their defense mechanism to confuse and elude predators. As many cooks know, it’s a wonderful element to add flavor and color to a variety of dishes, pasta being the most common. The flavor is described as “briny and seafood-y”. Big surprise there. And naturally, best paired with seafood.
Amsterdam has been nothing but a daily soggy mess for over a week. But we managed to hit the fish market to grab some fresh squid and clams during a brief dry moment. The recipe is really easy and takes under 30 minutes to prepare, especially if you buy seafood that has already been cleaned.
There are several great recipes on the web using squid ink pasta, we just happen to choose this one and somewhat halved the recipe to accommodate two people.
- 1 lb (about 500 grams) black squid ink pasta (regular pasta can be substituted)
- 2 lb whole baby squid (or 1 lb cleaned baby squid bodies or pre-cut rings)
[we also added clams; I think any kind seafood will pair well if you don’t prefer squid]
- 1- 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, use the best you can find
- 1/2 c Chianti Wine
- Olive oil as needed
- Garlic, 2-3 cloves, finely chopped
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- Lots of crushed red pepper flakes for heat
[we love heat and added a chili pepper as well]
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Garnish: Fresh or dried parsley and/or grated parmesan
Preparation: Before you begin anything, clean and prep the squid by gently but firmly grabbing the “head” of the squid and pulling away from the body. This should remove all insides including the ink pouch. Careful to not break the ink pouch, it will get EVERYTHING black. Next, rinse out the squid body and pull out the “bone” – it runs down the body of the squid and looks and feels like thin clear plastic. It should come out in one clean piece. Next, gently tear off the “flaps” on the body and this should bring all the skin with it. You are looking for a shiny, white, clean squid body which you then cut into rings, rinse one more time and set aside. Want less mess and a time saver? Buy cleaned squid or pre-cut rings (we did!).
Next, cook pasta to al dente, drain and reserve about 1/2 c cooking liquid. Meanwhile sauté garlic, shallots and red pepper flakes in olive oil, careful to not burn garlic. Add wine and bring to a boil, reduce by about half…add tomatoes, simmer, adding salt and pepper as needed (to taste).
Add squid to tomato sauce, along with drained pasta and reserved cooking liquid. Simmer, tossing frequently, and turn off heat before mixture nears dry (and before seafood becomes tough). Squid, like shrimp, cook within minutes and will be tough and chewy if you overcook it.
Garnish with crushed red peppers and chopped parsley, serve immediately (preferably with your favorite Chianti Classico!).
Eet smakelijk and Buon Appetito!