Calamari on an Ink Linguine with a spicy tomato sauce is a great way to spice up your next dinner. If you always wondered how those black ink pasta taste like but never got the guts to buy it and try it out, this recipe will make you buy them over and over again. Everyone is scared of those ink meals for some reason…I guess it’s the fact of eating what you usually write with, it just doesn’t quite belong in a plate. But I assure you, it’s quite the opposite. Since I’ve been living in Spain, they use the ink of cuttlefish for many of their traditional meals like squids croquetas in their ink, the arroz negro (black cuttlefish paella) or those black ink linguine. This recipe comes from my cooking school, well… we had to make the fresh ink linguine by ourself, so in this case, to keep it simple, I’ve just bought a pack of dry black pasta. This way the recipe takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.
The taste of ink might worry some of you, but it doesn’t feel anything like tarry, earthy or whatever you believe your pen tastes like… no.. it tastes like a salty mineral water, or to be more precise it tastes like the sea. Although, making yourself the pasta with the fresh ink makes the sea factor more present, if you are comfortable with making your own fresh pasta, you definitely should make it for this recipe and add a tbsp of squid ink to your mix.
For this recipe, I’ve used pre cleaned frozen squids, no need to defrost them either, when they are frozen and hard, they are way easier to cut with the mandoline into fine rings. Once cut, let 10 minutes pass and you’ll see; how fast those magically defrost. Finish it up by simply drying them up with a paper towel and they are ready to fry. Frozen squid is super tender when fried quickly at high heat. The muscles fibres in the calamar break down when they are frosted which leave their meat super tender, the trick here is to fry them fast and hard in olive oil for about 3-4 minutes, if you over cook them, it’s when they will get chewy… If this happens, you can always save them back, by letting them cook slowly (let say in this case into the tomato sauce) until they become tender again, for about 10-15 minutes.
I’ve used the most popular “spicy” dried pepper from Spain called “Guindilla” which is used to make the spicy paprika. It is still a fairly moderate spicy pepper, which won’t overwhelmed the sauce. Those peppers give some of the most iconic Spanish recipes like the gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimps), the bacalao al pil pil (cod emulsified in spicy olive oil) or even the popular Basques pintxo (tapa) called Gilda (a pickled guindilla, anchovy and olive tapa). If you do not find those precise peppers at home, simply chose a mildly spicy pepper or a touch of cayenne pepper to spice up your tomato sauce. Also, another aromatic for the tomato sauce is a single fresh basil leave, which you add at the end of coccion to give the tomato sauce an extra aroma. You’ll have to discard it before serving.
Let’s make this sea flavored pasta!
Calamari Linguine on a spicy tomato sauce
Makes 4 portions
- 400g of ink linguine
- 400g of cleaned frozen squids
- 400g of tomato purée or crushed (I used a can)
- 1 guindilla dry pepper (or mildly spicy pepper of your choice to your taste)
- 2 garlic cloves minced (1 for the tomato sauce and 1 for the squid stir-fry)
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- 1/4 of a bell pepper cut into small dices (topping)
- virgin olive oil
- flat leaf parsley finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- Start by cutting the frozen squid with the mandoline 5mm cut, let the rings unfreeze on a paper towel
- Make a small cut on the dry Guindilla pepper
- Add some olive oil in a sauce pan
- Add 1 minced garlic and guindilla pepper to medium high heat, to release their flavors for a minute
- Add the tomato purée, sugar, salt and pepper and let is simmer 5 minutes
- When the sauce is well infused, stop the fire, add the fresh basil leaf and cover
- Let it infuse for another 5 minutes
- During that time, cook the ink pasta in salty water
- In a wok or large pan, bring to high heat, add a 3 tbsp of olive oil
- When hot, add the squids (need to be really hot and enough oil)
- Add the other minced garlic, stir and cook for 3-4 minutes
- When done add the finely chopped parsley
- Serve the ink pasta on the spicy tomato sauce, topped with the garlic calamari, the pepper dices.
Serve with a lemon wedge and a touch of extra-virgin olive oil. Enjoy!