Arriving in Adelaide over a year and a half ago two culinary, or rather restaurant trends that were, (still are to some extent) all the rage caught my eye inciting curiosity. The first – crispy fried zucchini flowers stuffed with soft goat’s cheese, (I have to admit I have not yet tried) and the second – marvellous strands of black tagliatelle, punctuating large white serving plates with a unique, almost unearthly beauty.
Squid ink pasta claims to be slightly sweeter than regular pasta, personally speaking apart from the distinctive colour there is no distinguishing taste or texture tells them apart from the regular durum wheat varieties – hardly surprising as they are made from durum wheat, semolina, squid ink (which gives it the black colour) and water. You can find squid ink pasta at any good delicatessen; I like Lucia’s and Atlas at Adelaide’s Central Market that sells a 250 g pack for $5.
Presenting beautifully, perfect for a sit-down dinner, this recipe has been inspired from a miscellaneous internet recipe. Simple, yet elegant flavours – garlic, basil, nutmeg and white wine complement the squid ink pasta, prawns and squid legs without stealing the show.
Ingredients: 250 g Squid Ink Pasta: 2 tsps butter; 4 cloves garlic, minced; 1 shallot, minced; 1/4 cup dry white wine; 1/4 cup chicken broth; 1/2 cup heavy cream; 1/2 tsp Nutmeg, freshly grated to taste; 1 tsp fresh lemon juice; Salt and pepper, to taste; 12 Prawns, de-veined, tails intact and butter-flied; 200 g Squid legs, skin removed; Parmesan, finely grated; Pea shoot sprouts, to garnish; Fresh Basil leaves, to garnish; Extra virgin olive oil, to fry; Dried Italian herbs
Method: In a skillet over medium high heat melt butter, sauté garlic and shallots for 2 minutes; add white wine; simmer until reduced by one half. Add broth and cream, lower the temperature and simmer until thickened. Remove from heat; add nutmeg, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook the squid ink pasta for 10-12 minutes or according to packaged recommendations, making sure not to overcook the pasta. It should be al-dente.
While the pasta boils season a hot grill pan with extra virgin oil, dried Italian herbs, pepper and salt. Sear the prawns for a minute on either side, remove from the pan. Char-grill the squid legs on the same pan, refreshing oil and herbs if required. Do not fry the squid for longer than 3-4 minutes as it will get tough and rubbery. Once cooked through and slightly coloured, set aside with prawns.
Once the pasta has been boiled, drain it and add it to the re-heated white wine sauce. Combine the prawns and the squid legs as well, coating it with sauce. It requires only a minute or two to heat through.
To serve, spoon sauce onto serving plates, twirl the squid ink strands around a long-tined fork, slide off onto the sauced plates. To finish, add the prawns and the squid legs on top and garnish with the pea shoot sprouts, basil leaves and Parmesan.
Love Prawns? Prawn Saganaki
Eager about eight legged creatures? Try Greek Grilled Octopus
Or looking for more seafood pasta recipes? Linguine alle Vongole