Sunday, October 3, 2010

Squid Ink Pasta with Seppia (aka Cuttlefish)

A few months ago I went on a shopping trip to Chelsea Market, where I picked up some frozen seppia (aka cuttlefish).  The cuttlefish has been sitting in the freezer ever since.  Then this weekend Alex and I decided that it was time to figure out what to do with our cuttlefish.  Originally we were talking about making fideos with cuttlefish, but we didn't have any seppia ink for the fideos.  And fideos (like risotto and paella) can be somewhat laborious.  Then we started talking about various other dishes we could make.  Alex found an interesting recipe for stuffed seppia, but we didn't have all of the ingredients.  Then I started looking at various pasta and risotto recipes, but most called for seppia ink.  So we made a recipe up.  Shocking, I know.

I have been sitting on this post now for a few weeks because I just haven't had the time to go back and actually post it.  And then once I had the time, I forgot all about this post and moved on to new recipes and posts.  So now it has probably been... 2-3 weeks since we made this pasta, which means that all of my immediate impressions from eating the dish are now long gone.  But Alex and I agree that the pasta was a solid B (my initial thought was B-, but I think I was being overly harsh).  It wasn't something I would order at a restaurant, but it was a pretty good first attempt at making sepia, especially since we were entirely winging it.  I liked the heat from the red pepper flakes, but I almost always like heat.  As you can see in the picture, the sauce was pretty thin and just barely coated the pasta.  I tend to like my pastas very lightly sauced, but if you want more sauce you need to double the amount of pasta sauce and add another dollop of white wine.  The next time I buy seppia, I am going to make sure to buy the ink as well because I think it would have made all the difference if I could have used the ink to make a sauce, rather than relying on dried squid ink spaghetti and canned tomato sauce.

Recipe after the jump!

Squid Ink Pasta with Seppia

3 tbsp evoo
1/2 medium red onion, minced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (use a little less if you don't like spice)
1 lb. cuttlefish, cleaned, and cut into thin strips
3 tbsp pasta sauce (we used Mario Batali's store-bought Arrabiata sauce, but use whatever you have on hand)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp fresh basil, juliened
1/4 tsp sugar
8 oz. squid ink spaghetti (either dried or fresh if you can find it - we used dried)
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely minced for garnish

Heat evoo in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Saute, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes.  Add cuttlefish, as well as s&p.  Stir to combine and saute until the cuttlefish is totally opaque and has begun to curl up, about 3 minutes.  Add pasta sauce, wine, basil and sugar.  Stir to combine.  Cover and reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer until cuttlefish is tender and sauce has reduced and thickened a little, about 45 minutes.  Taste and season with additional s&p if necessary.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package instructions in a large pot of boiling salted water.  Drain pasta while still al dente, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.  Toss spaghetti with cuttlefish.  Serve in individual pasta bowls, garnishing with the parsley, if desired.


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