That cool looking black pasta is made from eggs, flour, a little salt and ink from squid butts. You’ve probably seen squid ink pasta on menus at your favorite trattorias, or sold in gourmet food stores. You may have even seen it in an awesome cook book or a cooking blog, but you will never have seen it prepared on the Today Show (hmmm, why is that?). Like me, you have probably thought long and hard about squid ink and making squid ink-infused fresh pasta. Before I attempted to make the pasta, I committed 15 minutes to solid research finding answers to my biggest concerns. These included: “Is this gonna stain my hands?” “What about my kitchen countertops?” and, “What does it taste like?” Well, fear not pasta lovers/enthusiasts/daredevils. The top 10 most important concerns of squid ink pasta are addressed here. Enjoy.
Squid ink can be purchased at a cool supermarkets, specialty food stores or decent fish mongers. If you still can’t locate it, you should find it online somewhere. I paid $3.00 for a small container of squid ink that was imported from Italy. Italian squid ink, much like their pasta, pizzas and bunga bunga parties, is far better in Italy than the US.
- Squid are not the only sea creatures to emit black ink as a defense mechanism. Cuttlefish also produce black ink which is harvested for food coloring and flavoring. Be mindful of this when asking your fishmonger for black ink. They are a hyper-sensitive bunch.
- It won’t stain your hands…permanently. I mean, it will dirty your hands, and it will make you look like a coal miner, but it will wash off with soap and water. I’m pretty sure it will.
- Ditto for staining your countertops, work spaces or pasta rolling equipment. I made the pasta on my countertops which are a speakeasy-designer-retro-rust-veneered-ultra-weathered-polished concrete and it didn’t leave a residue. I didn’t get any on my clothes so I can’t make any wild claims on whether the ink will stain tighty whities.
- Squid ink pasta has a distinctive iodine, briny flavor that pairs well with seafood, ideally squid. This is probably the most surprising aspect of squid ink pasta. I thought it was merely a coloring agent, but it has its own unique flavor profile. It's worth the effort if you love seafood and/or talking about your culinary achievements (see point 8).
- Squid ink pasta will take the same time to cook as regular fresh pasta. About 3-6 minutes.
- If you prepare your fresh pasta by making half of your pasta with squid ink and the other half sans-squid ink, you could create something that will scare children.
- Squid ink pasta is arguably the coolest looking pasta to make, serve, eat, take photos of, discuss on chat roulette and add to your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you tell people about it at any available opportunity. It makes for scintillating conversation and ego boosting. I’m sure Gwyneth Paltrow talks about squid ink pasta all the time.
- Squid ink can be used in other regional specialties such as risotto or paella.
- Lastly (and I’m reaching here), squid ink can be smudged under your eyes to enhance your Avril Lavigne look.
- 2 cups flour
- 3 eggs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon squid ink
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)
- Mound the flour on a clean work surface. Hollow out the center using your fingers making a well in the middle of the flour with steep sides.
- Break the eggs into a bowl and add the salt, squid ink and olive oil. Beat it well and add it to the well, gently mixing together with a fork. Gradually start incorporating the flour by pulling in the flour from the sides of the well. As you incorporate more of the flour, the dough will start to take shape.
- Discard the fork and using your hands, continue working the dough until it comes together. If the dough is too dry, add a little water; if too wet or sticky, add a little more flour.
- Begin kneading the dough and keep kneading until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Don’t skimp on the kneading time. It will pay-off in the end.
- Set the dough aside, cover it with plastic, and let it rest for 20 minutes in the fridge. You can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but allow it to return to room temperature before rolling it out.
- Divide the pasta dough into 4 even sections. Keep each section covered with plastic wrap or a clean towel while you work with each one. Flour the dough, the pasta roller (or your rolling pin), your hands, and the work surface.
- If using a pasta machine: Flatten one of the of the dough pieces between your hands or with a floured rolling pin until it forms a thick oval disk. Dust the disk, the roller, and your hands with additional flour. Flour a baking sheet to hold the rolled out finished pasta.
- With the roller on the widest setting, pass the pasta through the machine a few times until it is smooth. Fold the dough over into thirds, and continue to pass through a few more times until the pasta is smooth again. Begin adjusting the pasta machine settings to become thinner, passing the dough through a few times at each setting.
- If rolling the pasta by hand: Flatten a dough piece into a thick oval disk with your hands. Flour a baking sheet for the rolled out finished pasta. Place the oval dough disk on a floured work surface, and sprinkle with additional flour. Begin rolling out the dough with a floured rolling pin working from the center of the dough outwards, constantly moving the dough and lifting it to make sure it's not sticking.
Recipe courtesy of Kelsey’s Essentials