Recipe: Linguine al nero di Seppia. Pasta with squid ink

A delicious and dramatic Sicilian dish

This one is for your Mistress.  It is a classic dish from Southern Italy, mainly Sicily, but can now be found all over the country. Black pasta! How goth.

Nero di seppia is squid ink, and you can do some very dramatic things with it in the kitchen. It has a unique, slightly metallic taste to it, and is the signature ingredient of this very famous pasta dish.  The black of the ink and the red of the tomatoes marry wonderfully, and indeed some people prefer to use fresh, halved, cherry tomatoes.

In preparing the squid or cuttlefish, freezing them tenderizes them.  Alternatively, if fresh, you can either pound them 100 times with a mallet or throw them against a rock.  Please note that the expression q.b. is “quanto basta” which means the amount that is enough.

  • 500 g dried linguine
  • 20 g of squid ink (nero di seppia)
  • 600 g of squid or cuttlefish, cut into small pieces
  • 400 g of cubed tomato pulp
  • 2 plump cloves of garlic, peeled and minced fine
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • Dried red pepper flakes q.b.
  • ½ cup of white wine
  • Olive oil q.b.
  • 2 tablespoons of flat leaf Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Set a large pot of salted water on high and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, sauté the garlic and onions in olive oil, add the squid, and cook for about 2-3 minutes over medium heat in a large saucepan with a heavy bottom.  Add in the tomatoes and cook on medium-low to reduce, stirring from time to time, for about 15 minutes.

Add in the white wine, stir to combine, and cook another 5 minutes or so.   Remove from the heat.  Stir in the squid ink and the red pepper flakes, mix to to combine, and leave, covered, while you cook the pasta.  Adjust the seasoning for salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta for the amount of time needed for al dente, drain it, add it to the sauce, stir to combine, and allow a minute or so for the pasta to absorb the sauce.  Sprinkle with the minced parsley and serve.

Serves 4.

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