Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Squid ink spaghetti with anchovy sauce and fried bread crumbs

Right now I'm sure you're thinking, "Squid ink spaghetti? With anchovy sauce? That sounds nasty." In fact, it is quite tasty. It's counter-intuitive, but squid ink pasta is actually not fishy-tasting at all; it's got a lovely subtle umami to it, and a startling color, but no fish or ink aftertaste. Ditto the anchovy sauce--no fishy taste, just a lovely depth of flavor.

Combine the two, and this is one of the best--and simplest--pasta dishes I've had in some time. I had a package of squid ink spaghetti in my cabinets, from a rather expensive trip to a gourmet food store (what? You don't walk into a cheese shop and buy $140 worth of cheese, oils, fennel pollen and squid ink pasta?). Such things are not usually in my budget, but you know, sometimes you just need some cheese.

Anyway, it wasn't that expensive ($8.95 for a pound of squid ink pasta, which is less than it would cost to buy some squid ink and make it from scratch), and a tin of anchovies is maybe $1.69. This could be a great fancy party dish, that looks and tastes expensive and complicated, when in fact it took less than 10 minutes (and $12) to throw together.

1 lb squid ink spaghetti
Half a loaf of stale bread
Olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
Fresh parsley, chopped
1 tin of anchovies in oil

Cook the pasta until just al dente. While it's cooking, place the stale bread in your food processor and whiz it until it's in varying sizes of crumbs. Heat some olive oil in a skillet, and add the bread crumbs when it's hot. Cook until golden and crunchy, and place in a bowl. Add half the lemon zest and the parsley, and mix well.

Then add the anchovy oil to a skillet, along with some olive oil, and mix well. Add the roughly chopped anchovies, and stir over medium heat until the anchovies dissolve into the oil. As soon as it becomes a smooth sauce, remove from the heat, and add half the lemon zest.

Drain the pasta well, mix well with the anchovy oil, and add the bread crumbs mixture.

This won't be a sauce-y dish; the oil just coats the pasta. But that's okay, because you want the flavor of the squid ink pasta to come through. It's also a surprisingly light dish, for pasta--because there's not a lot of sauce or cheese. It'll go smashingly with a nice frappato.

1 comment:

  1. I just made this and absolutely loved it! I bought fresh squid ink pasta from Ohio City Pasta in Cleveland and was looking for something light to go with it. This hit the spot. Thanks!