Squid ink linguine with prawns and sepia in tomato sauce

Squid Ink Linguine with Prawns I´ve always loved wondering around the fish stores with display cases full of ice. The strong fishy smell rushing through my nostrils only added to my fascination of different kinds of seafood immersed in...

Squid Ink Linguine with Prawns
Squid Ink Linguine with Prawns

I´ve always loved wondering around the fish stores with display cases full of ice. The strong fishy smell rushing through my nostrils only added to my fascination of different kinds of seafood immersed in ice. Probably, because I didn´t grow up by the seashore. The closest sea to Slovakia is in Croatia, 10 hours by car and in our small town finding fresh seafood was a rarity.   Fresh fish prepared and eaten when I was a child, came from local rivers.  Some of our family friends were frequently off to Norway on fishing excursions.  To be clear, there are two ways of fishing in Norway.  A real fishing rod for the keen and patient fisherman and then “fishing” with a group of fathers, their bags packed and most importantly - with alcohol - which they exchanged for fresh salmon and trout, taking advantage of the prohibition laws on alcohol in Norway. Due to my past growing up in Slovakia, making seafood dishes at home, has remained exciting and extraordinary for me.  Not because of likes or dislikes, but I’d rather have no seafood than seafood not at the height of freshness.  So when I cook a seafood recipe, I always make it a special affair, inviting friends to share my dinner.  This time I decided to create a dish in my favourite Italian way,  pasta, tomatoes and basil.  So here we go! Adding extra ingredients to plain egg pasta dough either to change the flavour or the appearance is quite popular these days, the most common being green and red pasta which is achieved by the addition of green (basil, spinach) or red (tomato, beetroot) colouring.  Then there is let´s say, a little controversial, black colouring – squid ink.  When using different coloured pasta, you can use pretty much any sauce. The benefits coming from neutral sauces, like aglio e olio when combined with colourful pasta, is that it gives your dish a significantly different look even though the sauce itself has a neutral appearance. This time we are combining black squid pasta with red tomato sauce garnished with few fresh basil leaves, finishing touch of parmesan and you can call it “a piece of art”.

Squid Ink Linguine with Prawns and Sepia in Tomato Sauce

This recipe makes 4 portions.

Ingredients:

  • 400 g of Black squid ink linguine
  • 400 g one can of tomatoes
  • 250 ml white wine (chardonnay type)
  • 12 prawns
  • 2 pieces of sepia
  • 1 chilli pepper without seeds
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Dried basil
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan & fresh basil

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Preparation:

1. Heat the oil in the pan. Add the chopped onion and sauté on a low heat until tender - about 5 minutes.

2. Add the chopped garlic, chili and thinly cut sepia and sauté for one additional minute.

3. Add the white wine and simmer for 5 minutes until alcohol evaporates.

4. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and dried basil and simmer for about 15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta “al dente” according to directions.

6. Season the tomato sauce with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

7. Add the washed shrimps to the tomato sauce and simmer until cooked (this takes about 5 minutes depending on their size).

8. Drain the pasta, add to the sauce and incorporate with a few quick shakes.

9. Serving: make a nice “nest” of linguini, put 3 pieces of prawns on each portion and sprinkle with grated parmesan and few leaves of fresh basil.  I also love this dish accompanied with a spicy fresh rocket salad.

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Squid ink

  • A dark pigment released into the water by most species of cephalopod, usually as an escape mechanism, the ink is released from the ink sac with a jet of water.
  • For cooking, the ink is extracted from the ink sac of cephalopods, mechanically.
  • The dark colour is caused by its main constituent, melanin.
  • The ink is sold in small jars at specialized supermarkets, the fish store or the fisherman, himself.
  • The modern use of cephalopod ink is generally limited to cooking where it is used as a food colouring and flavouring. The most common uses are for risottos, paella negra, but also in sauces.
  • The colouring is not as intense as found in blueberries therefore making it easier to wash your hands and kitchen tools with soap and water.
  • Squid ink is not just a colouring but it also has a distinct flavour – the “salty taste of the sea”.
  • Recent studies have shown that cephalopod ink is toxic to some cells, including tumor cells.