Squid Ink Spaghetti With Zesty Calamari

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IMG_6034Here’s an easy pasta dish that combines inspiration from the south in Crete, from the seaside tavernas and from northern Greece with the use of Boukovo…Greek chilli flakes. I first has cuttlefish and squid served covered in their squid ink…an odd sight at first but jet-black delicious!

One can buy squid ink from finer grocers or you can find pasta made with squid ink – the latter being easier of the two. Squid isn’t cheap (takes awhile to harvest from squid and messy) but it’s not beyond anyone’s budget. A little goes along way and you can simply add the ink (small increments) until you get jet-black pasta.

Buying squid ink pasta is a fine product and you’ll be that much closer to producing this visually stunning and delicious dish. Most people have had fried calamari at Greek restaurants but it is also wonderful grilled, sautéed and of course, simmered, as we are doing today.

The sauce is a base of olive oil, celery, onion, carrot, tomatoes, herbs, wine, spices and boukovo…chilli flakes used often in northern Greek cooking. Let’s do it!IMG_6036-001

Squid Ink Spaghetti With Zesty Calamari

(serves 4)

8 medium-sized calamari (fresh or thawed from frozen)

2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 clove of garlic, minced

splash of extra-virgin olive oil

Zesty Calamari Sauce

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

1/2  carrot, finely diced

1/2 stalk celery, finely diced

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. tomato paste

1/3 cup white wine

2 cups grated fresh tomato (or pureed canned plum tomatoes)

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp. ground star anise

1 tsp. Boukovo/chilli flakes

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

500 gr. dry squid ink spaghetti/linguine

  1. To clean your squid, pull the tentacles from the tubes. Cut below the eyes to remove the head from the tentacles. To clean the tubes, pull out the spinal bone and use your fingers to remove the guts. Use your hands to rub the purple skin off the tubes. Cut the tubes into rings and rinse (along with tentacles) and pat-dry.
  2. Place in a bowl with some olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and toss. Place a large skillet on your stovetop over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and when hot, add the calamari and sauté for a minute on each side.
  3. Now add the onions, celery, carrots, bay and stir in, reduce the heat to medium and allow to sweat for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and wine and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the tomato purée/sauce, bring up to a boil, add salt and pepper and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until thick. Add the star anise, more salt and pepper to taste and chilli flakes (boukovo).
  5. Meanwhile, place a large pot of water to boil, adding salt and pasta and cook for 6 minutes. Drain and place pasta back in pot and add some of the sauce to coat the pasta.
  6. Divide and plate and pour the remaining sauce (and calamari) to top each portion. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with an Alpha Estate Rose.




© 2014,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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