Squid ink turns pasta into a black ocean-flavored delicacy. Don’t let the color turn you down, it has an incredible flavor! The best sauce is, of course, the same fresh squids and delicious garlicky cherry tomatoes.
Have you ever tried squid ink pasta before? If you’ve been in Italy or in good Italian restaurants, you may have.
Italian cuisine was born when poverty was the norm, so many traditional recipes have peasant origins. A famous Italian saying is “we don’t throw away anything”, especially when it’s edible.
We use in our recipes every single part of the cows and pigs and, in this case, of squids too.
What is Squid Ink
You may know that squids, cuttlefish, and octopus produce ink as a self-defense mechanism to spray on their enemies when they feel in danger. What you may not know is that this ink is edible.
The squid ink is mainly made of melanin, the pigment that also makes its dark color and also the same thing that gives humans their skin color.
To learn more about it, you can visit this page that provides all the information about squid ink.
What does Squid Ink taste like?
It may look unappetizing with its pitch-black color, but squid ink is actually tasty. It has a faint taste of squid and seafood flavor. Nothing too strong or too fishy, it’s very delicate and elegant. That’s why it can be used in many recipes, like risottos, bread, crackers, and of course, pasta.
Either in a pasta sauce or directly in the pasta dough like in this recipe. It will make each bite of pasta much more flavorful.
How to use it
Squid ink is commercially sold in liquid form or dehydrated powder form (see also Amazon links at the bottom of this post), but if you cannot find it in your supermarket, you could also harvest it yourself from fresh squids.
The ink is situated in the head of the squids, between the eyes, so you need to be careful while you cut and clean your squids. Watch this video for step-by-step instructions on how to harvest squid ink.
The most common uses for squid ink are in pasta dough and risotto. Since it doesn’t only give color but also flavor, be careful how you use it: you may think a black bread would be cool, but do you really want a fish-flavored bread? Unless you’re going to use it as a garnish for fish, probably not.
The same goes if you use it pasta or risotto, serve it with a fish or seafood sauce, don’t use meat nor cheese (there are debates around the fish and cheese pairing).
Since it has a liquid consistency, you can easily implement it in many doughs or sauces. Just mix it first with other wet ingredients before you add the dry ingredients to make sure the color will be uniform. If instead, you use the powder form, mix in with the dry ingredients first.
Check out also this extensive guide with step-by-step videos on how to make 10 different shapes of fresh pasta without a pasta machine.
Squid Ink Pasta with Squids
For the Pasta
- 1 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup Semolina
- 2 Eggs
- 3/4 tsp Squid Ink, liquid
- EV Olive Oil
For the Sauce
- 3 Squids, large
- 10 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- 3 Garlic cloves, halved
- 1/4 cup White Wine
- Parsley, chopped
Make the Pasta
- In a large bowl, add both flours, a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix well and make a hole in the center.
- Add the eggs in the center and beat them with a fork, then add the squid ink to the eggs and beat until combined (if you prefer you can do this step in a separate bowl). When the eggs and ink are combined, start slowly adding the flour.
- When the dough it's too stick to mix with a fork, start kneading with your hands and knead the dough for at least 10 minutes until you have a smooth and uniform dough.
- Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Take a large wooden board and sprinkle with flour. Divide the dough in 4 parts and start kneading the first part again and flatten it with your hands.
- Roll it in the pasta machine starting with the wider settings and slowly reducing the thickness. Once it's thin enough, add the spaghetti attachment and pass it through.
- Set the pasta on a clean towel and sprinkle some more flour on top.
Make the Sauce and finish the dish
- Clean the squids and cut them into rings. Drizzle a large pan with olive oil and turn on the heat. When it's hot, add the squids and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add the white wine and let it evaporate.
- Add the peeled and halved garlic cloves and the halved cherry tomatoes to the pan. Cook for another 10 minutes, turning down the heat if necessary.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and when the sauce it's almost ready, toss the pasta. Boil the pasta for 2-3 minutes, then add it in the pan with the sauce.
- Add a ladle or two of pasta water to the pan and sautèe for a minute. Add the finely chopped parsley and serve
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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