Last week I discussed the difference between Chowder and Bisque… Now , it’s time to talk Pasta! But not just any kind of ordinary pasta … This week the spotlight is on Squid Ink Pasta…
Only a few days ago , I when I was out having dinner with my friends , I had my first encounter with this cool looking black pasta. I was a bit apprehensive at first ,but now I’m 100% sold on it.
I ordered Spaghetti neri all’aragosta , which is black ink pasta , diced whole lobster, bisque ,garlic , fresh tomatoes and chilli.
It was a great surprise…
That amazingly weird looking black pasta is made from eggs, flour, a little salt and ink from squid bottoms. You’ve probably seen squid ink pasta on menus at your favorite italian restaurants, or sold in gourmet food stores. You may have even seen it in a cookbook or a cooking blog, but you will never have seen it prepared on the Today Show (hmmm, why is that?).
Like me, you have never probably thought about squid ink and making squid ink-infused fresh pasta.
“Is this gonna stain my hands?” “What about my kitchen countertops?” and, “What does it taste like?” Well, fear not my lovely pasta enthusiasts. The top most important concerns an tips of squid ink pasta are revealed here …
Squid ink can be purchased at a cool supermarkets, specialty food stores or decent fish mongers. If you still can’t locate it, you should find it online somewhere. It is usually around 4-5 pounds for a small container of squid ink that was imported from Italy. Italian squid ink, much like their pasta , is far better.
Squid are not the only sea creatures to emit black ink as a defense mechanism. Cuttlefish also produce black ink which is harvested for food coloring and flavoring. Be mindful of this when asking your fishmonger for black ink. They are hyper-sensitive about it and you can easily end up thrown out from their shop…
The ink actually won’t stain your hands…permanently. I mean, it will dirty your hands, and it will make you look like a coal miner, but it will wash off with soap and water. I’m pretty sure it will. Ditto for staining your counter-tops, work spaces or pasta rolling equipment.
Squid ink pasta has a distinctive iodine, briny flavor that pairs well with seafood, ideally squid. This is probably the most surprising aspect of squid ink pasta. I thought it was merely a coloring agent, but it has its own unique flavor profile. It’s worth the effort if you love seafood .
Squid ink pasta will take the same time to cook as regular fresh pasta. About 3-6 minutes.
Squid ink pasta is arguably the coolest looking pasta to make, serve, eat, take photos of, discuss . Make sure you tell people about it at any available opportunity. It makes for scintillating conversation and ego boosting.
Squid ink can be used in other regional specialties such as risotto or paella.
The perfect recipe :
2 cups flour
- 3 eggs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon squid ink
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)
- Mound the flour on a clean work surface. Hollow out the center using your fingers making a well in the middle of the flour with steep sides.
- Break the eggs into a bowl and add the salt, squid ink and olive oil. Beat it well and add it to the well, gently mixing together with a fork. Gradually start incorporating the flour by pulling in the flour from the sides of the well. As you incorporate more of the flour, the dough will start to take shape.
- Discard the fork and using your hands, continue working the dough until it comes together. If the dough is too dry, add a little water; if too wet or sticky, add a little more flour.
- Begin kneading the dough and keep kneading until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Don’t skimp on the kneading time. It will pay-off in the end.
- Set the dough aside, cover it with plastic, and let it rest for 20 minutes in the fridge. You can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but allow it to return to room temperature before rolling it out.
- Divide the pasta dough into 4 even sections. Keep each section covered with plastic wrap or a clean towel while you work with each one. Flour the dough, the pasta roller (or your rolling pin), your hands, and the work surface.
- If using a pasta machine: Flatten one of the of the dough pieces between your hands or with a floured rolling pin until it forms a thick oval disk. Dust the disk, the roller, and your hands with additional flour. Flour a baking sheet to hold the rolled out finished pasta.
- With the roller on the widest setting, pass the pasta through the machine a few times until it is smooth. Fold the dough over into thirds, and continue to pass through a few more times until the pasta is smooth again. Begin adjusting the pasta machine settings to become thinner, passing the dough through a few times at each setting.
- If rolling the pasta by hand: Flatten a dough piece into a thick oval disk with your hands. Flour a baking sheet for the rolled out finished pasta. Place the oval dough disk on a floured work surface, and sprinkle with additional flour. Begin rolling out the dough with a floured rolling pin working from the center of the dough outwards, constantly moving the dough and lifting it to make sure it’s not sticking.
Well, that’s all there is on Squid Ink Pasta . I hope some of you will try and make the pasta at home or at least try it at the restaurant when you next see it on the menu.
Till next time everyone! 🙂