No matter what age you are, you should never be afraid to tackle a new ingredient, and squid ink pasta is a safe place to start expanding your repertoire.
Squid ink dishes are having a moment in the culinary world, mostly for their striking color and extra dimension of flavor.
But despite the strong color, the noodles have a surprisingly neutral flavor; slightly saltier than standard egg noodles. Some varieties claim to have a faint hint of seafood flavor, as well.
Squid ink refers to the black, cloudy liquid that cephalopods — such as squid, cuttlefish or octopus — release as a defense mechanism when being chased by a predator. It has deep pigmentation caused by melanin, a common organic pigment found in plants and animals. If you’re making your own noodles, remember, a little of this richly colored condiment goes a long way.
Squid ink is most popular in Italian and Spanish cooking, but it’s memorable appearance has made it a delicacy in many countries around the world.
In this dish, the red marinara and pale pink shrimp stand out against the silky black pasta, while red pepper flakes add a bit of heat.
Squid Ink Fettuccini with Shimp and Cherry Tomatoes
Serves 2; est. 30 minutes cook time
- 12-14 medium shrimp (or 2 servings of whatever size you select)
- 8 ounces of squid ink fettuccini
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 large lemon
- 1 bunch basil
- 2 tbsp of butter
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 4 ounces of tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup water (more for a thinner sauce)
- Heat large pot of water, add salt and boil on high.
- Prepare the produce. Halve the cherry tomatoes, quarter the lemon, thinly slice the garlic, remove stems from basil and chop.
- In large pan, warm olive oil and add sliced garlic, salt and pepper. Let brown 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir frequently. Add water. Stir.
- Add cherry tomatoes and red pepper flakes and additional salt or pepper to taste. Stir and let simmer 3-5 minutes, or until tomatoes are softened.
- Add pasta to boiling water and cook until tender.
- Add shrimp to sauce and cook 4-5 minutes or until opaque or thoroughly warmed (if cooked and frozen).
- Remove pasta from heat and drain (save some water in case sauce needs thinned). Add butter and stir into pasta until melted. Remove seeds from lemon and squeeze 3 pieces over pasta.
- Add sauce to pasta and stir. Cook 2-4 more minutes.
- Turn off heat and stir in chopped basil.
- Squeeze last lemon piece over top of dish. Garnish with extra basil or lemon zest.