Saturday, 31 August 2013

Spaghetti Nero

I´ve been amusing myself my comparing the contents of my and the neighbourhood's British tourists' shopping baskets. Well, based on the content of theirs (packet of hot dogs, bottles of whisky, vodka and gin, 6-pack of tonic, giant bag of crisps and a canister of Coke) I've taken the liberty to assume they're Brits anyway.

Then there's mine. All the seafood that's been available that day - often with no idea what to do with them. But this is one of the best uses I've come up with. Black spaghetti is available in some supermarkets, but in case you get hold of squid ink, you can make your own.  Provided you have a pasta machine... In case you use regular pasta (the way I did) add the ink into the cooked and drained pasta. There's no point adding it to the water (as I learnt after 4 sachets)  as it won't absorb properly. Dying couscous or rice with squid ink is based on them absorbing the water they're cooked in. One 4 g sachet is enough for approximately 250 grams of pasta/ rice/ couscous.

Since the black colour gives this dish fairly dramatic look, I wanted to let the colour do all the talking and didn't want to distract it with cream- or tomato-based sauce. Instead I tossed the pasta in butter and white wine instead. Simple, but (as those clams in Benalmadena showed) so delicious!

I used king prawns, mussels and octopus. The big ones I used for Pulpo a la Gallega and those cocktail-potatos too. They are available frozen at big supermarkets. As the cooking is a bit of a time-consuming process, I usually cook a bigger batch and freeze them for later use. Obviously you can use calamari rings too, or the kind of seafood mix I used for Ensalada Rusa.

Serves 2

2 portions of pasta (spaghetti or linguine)

16 king prawns
10 mussels
about 200 gr octopus
1 garlic clove
1/2 chilli
the zest of 1 lemon
A couple of tbsp butter
1,5 dl white wine
salt, pepper
handful of parsley

If the mussels you're using are pre-cooked, thaw them first.

Cook the pasta according to instructions on the packet. In the meanwhile make the sauce. Sauté thinly sliced garlic, grated lemon zest and chopped chilli in butter. If you're using uncooked prawns, peel them (you can leave the tail on) and add into sauce now. As they start to turn pink, add white wine, mussels and octopus. Let simmer under lid for a couple of minutes. If the mussels you're using are fresh, at this point throw away the ones that haven't opened. Check the taste and season as needed.

In case you're using squid ink, add the content of the sachet into the cooked and drained pasta carefully as it tends to colour everything else that gets in its way too. Pour the sauce on top, sprinkle the parsley and serve.

And if you can't get squid ink, don't worry - the dish tastes fine with regular spaghetti too. And you can always switch off the lights - in the dark any spaghetti looks black!

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