Saturday, 7 February 2015

Squid and macaroni

Our January was not spent abstaining from alcohol, meat or... well, anything really. See, the simple creatures that we are, we've yet to realize that gluten is the worst poison out there and how eating pasta is pretty much reason to anything that's going on in the world. 

One day I actually saw a headline screaming how "just one portion of alcohol a day might decrease one's life expectancy". Crikey. Gotta love the health and safety lobby for their tireless stupidity efforts. Hey, here's a scientifically proven fact! Every bloody day decreases one's life expectancy!!!

So, what did I do? Decided to combine all my vices (well, not all of them: even the ethnic stores won't stock George Clooney's eyes or Sasha Baron Cohen's smile...) and came up with this dish to feed friends that turned up for dinner a few weeks ago.

Anyone who'e ever read my blog knows I absolutely love all the members of the octopus family. Though I've also come to the confusing realization that my passion is not shared by many. Definitely not by my friends. "Tasteless", "rubbery" and "icky" are just about the nicest descriptions I've heard being used. 

I dare you: try any of these recipes and I think you'll find that doesn't have to be the case. This pasta swiftly became one of my own favourites too. And my friends? Couldn't get enough.

The ideal pasta shape for this would be something small and circular. In the style of the squid rings themselves. Simply because that makes eating easier. And trust me - you'll want to eat this. A lot of this. 

PS. Though an entire kilo of squid might seem like a lot, it isn't. Once it's been thawed and cleaned, you're only going to be left with about 550-600 g. For instructions as to how to clean a squid, click away here!

Serves 4-6

350 gr pasta

1 kg frozen squid, thawed, cleaned and cut into 3 cm rings
a couple of tbsp olive oil
2 large onions
3 large garlic cloves
3 anchovies
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 1/4  dl red wine
4 dl fish stock
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp dried oregano
500 g passata (or finely crushed tomatos)

to serve: 1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped, the finely grated zest of 1 lemon

kourallinen tuoretta persiljaa hienonnettuna, 1 sitruunan kuori raastettuna

Pat the squid dry and fry quickly in batches on the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Set the heads/ tentacles aside for serving. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water for 3 minutes. Drain and keep warm until they go into the sauce to finish cooking.

While waiting for the pasta water to boil, prep the sauce. Peel onion and garlic and slice finely. Sauté in oil until translucent. Add anchovies, tomato paste, oregano and red wine. Stir and cook for a minute or too and then add fish stock and passata. Season, bring to boil and let boil without the lid for about 10 minutes. Then add pasta and squid and continue cooking until they're done - about 10 minutes. Every now and then stir to make sure nothing sticks to the pan. If at this point the bake looks too liquid, continue boiling for a couple of minutes uncovered. 

Check the taste, season as needed and fold in tentacles, chopped parsley and lemon zest. Serve. 

A good wine pairing for this is Planeta Etna Rosso, made of Nerello Mascalese  grape variety grown in the vulcanic land at the foot of Mt. Etna. It's bright mineralic acidity has proved to be a good match with tomato-based pastas and even seafood - just try this baby octopus recipe cooked in sherry!




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