Traditionally, the blue-black ink of seppia, or cuttlefish, is used to flavour pastas and risottos in coastal regions of Italy, from Venice down to Calabria. We have used squid ink as it is more readily available. In this recipe, the actual pasta dough is made using the squid ink, however others dishes call for it to be used in the sauce. It lends a black colouring, as well as a subtle seafood flavour. If you want to extract the ink yourself, you will need to buy the freshest squid, with their ink sacs still intact.
- 800 g (about 4) cuttlefish or squid, cleaned, skin and tentacles removed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed with the back of a knife
- 2 lemons, 1 juiced, 1 cut into wedges, to serve
- extra-virgin olive oil and chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve
Squid ink pasta dough
- 300 g (2 cups) plain flour
- 3 eggs
- 1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp squid ink (see Note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make pasta, using an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, eggs, oil, squid ink and 3 tsp salt on low speed until mixture forms a dough. Knead on high speed for 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Shape dough into 4 discs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest.
Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 15 cm
x 24 cm rectangle, with the long edge facing you. Fold the right short edge two-thirds of the way to the left, then fold the left short edge over to meet the right. Rotate 90 degrees and roll out again to a 15 cm x 24 cm rectangle. Repeat folding and rolling process twice more. Cut dough into 4 strips and roll out each until 5 mm thick and 12 cm wide – nearly the width of your pasta machine.
Set pasta machine at its widest setting. Feed dough through, dusting with flour if necessary to prevent sticking. Continue to narrow settings, one notch at a time, until you reach the thinnest setting. Repeat with remaining dough, placing finished sheets on a large tray separating each layer with baking paper. Cut sheets into 5 mm-wide strips to make linguine. Hang linguine in a single layer over a tea towel-lined chair for 20 minutes or until starting to harden and dry. (If not cooking immediately, ensure uncooked pasta is dry before storing in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or freezing for up to 2 months.)
Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 4 minutes or until al dente. Drain, set aside and keep warm, reserving 80 ml cooking water.
Meanwhile, cut open each cuttlefish hood and lay flat. Score the inside of the hood, then cut each hood into 8 pieces. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until golden. Using a slotted spoon, remove garlic from pan and discard.
Increase heat to high, add cuttlefish pieces and cook, tossing occasionally, for 3 minutes or until light golden and tender. Add lemon juice, cooked pasta and the reserved cooking water and toss for 2 minutes or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle pasta with extra virgin olive oil and scatter with chopped parsley. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.
Squid ink is available from selected delis and fishmongers.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 14, pg63.
Photography by Armelle Habib