Black Pasta with Prawns
There is a cosmetic aspect to colouring your spaghetti with squid ink, but the melanin also gives a deep full seafood flavour to a simple plate of black pasta with prawns.
There has been a tradition to use squid ink in food all along the Italian coast, but the ingredient is particularly popular in the Veneto region and in Sicily, where poverty and thrift has taught people to use all parts of the fish caught.
In well-stocked Italian supermarkets you can buy small packages of squid ink, but the ingredient is also be available on the internet and at some fishmongers and gourmet food suppliers. The tiny bags have a 4-year shelf life, so I try to keep a small stock at home to use for homemade spaghetti, risotto, black crackers or other kinds of food fun.
This recipe of black pasta with prawns in more about taste than about cosmetics. The squid ink boosts the flavour of the prawns and give you a full-toned seafood dish with very simple means. If you don’t want to make your own black pasta, you can find ready-made black pasta in some specialty shops.
For the pasta
300 g flour type 00
1 pack of squid ink
For the sauce
300 g small tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
1 dried peperoncino
50 ml white wine
200 g prawns
Olive oil, salt and pepper
Start by making the black pasta
Form a heap of flour on a clean tabletop
Make a well in the centre and add the squid ink and the eggs
Stir the squid ink and eggs with a fork in gradually increasing circles to incorporate the flour.
Keep kneading until the colour is evenly distributed and you have obtained a firm but elastic pastry.
Wrap the pastry in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
When the pastry has rested, knead it thoroughly with the heel of your hand or run it through a pasta machine 10 times at the widest width.
Keep rolling the pasta through the machine while you gradually decrease the width.
When the pasta sheets are appropriately thin run them through the spaghetti aggregate.
Spread the black spaghetti over a clean dish towel to dry, until you are ready to cook them.
For the sauce heat up olive oil in a casserole and fry the peperoncino and the peeled clove of garlic over moderate heat for a few minutes. Remove and discard both garlic and peperoncino, if you don’t want your prawn sauce to get too hot or too garlicky.
Wash the tomatoes, cut them in halves and add them to the casserole.
Pour in the white wine when the tomatoes start to soften. Turn up the heat and let most of the liquid evaporate.
Let the tomatoes simmer, while you bring a pot of salted water to the boil.
Boil the black pasta for 3 minutes (or however long it says on the package.
Add peeled prawns to the tomatoes, heat the sauce through and adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
Mix the black pasta with prawns and tomatoes and serve.