Squid Ink Pasta with Clams and Bottarga

Linguine al Nero di Calamari con Vongole e Bottarga

Santa School - Korea

(With thanks to the folks at Colored Mondays)

We Bartolini are an ecumenical lot. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, or even Festivus, we hope your holidays are of the most memorable kind.

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Although this is my 4th Christmas Eve on WordPress (I know! FOURTH!?!?!), this is the 3rd time I’ve used the occasion to highlight seafood. In the past, I shared a tongue-in-cheek tale of how Italian Catholics prepared a Feast of the Seven Fishes to get around the Church’s rule of not eating meat on Christmas Eve. To be sure, the Church’s original intent was to keep that day, the last of Advent, a day of refection and sacrifice in preparation for the Christ Child’s imminent arrival. Some of the faithful, however, couldn’t wait to get the party started, so, instead they prepared a seafood feast. To avoid the Church’s wrath, they prepared 7 different dishes, 1 fish for each of the Seven Holy Sacraments. With their Church leaders appeased — many of whom were enjoying their own, even more lavish, seafood feasts — a tradition was born. Today, feasts of 10, 11, and even 12 seafood dishes may be prepared and served.

Last week I shared my family’s recipe for garbanzo soup, the type of simple dish that I’m sure the Church had originally intended Catholics prepare on the last day of Advent. Today I’ll share a recipe that is far removed from last week’s simple, unadorned minestra, Squid Ink Pasta with Clams and Bottarga. I’ll get to the recipe soon enough but 1st, I’ve “got some ‘splaining to do.”

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Squid Ink Pasta 3

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I think it was Mom who told me about Nonna (Zia’s Mother-in-law) cleaning cuttlefish, sepia. A cousin of squid, sepia are often prepared in very much the same ways. (Those who have owned parakeets, “budgies”, often hang cuttle bones in their cages to be used by the birds for beak maintenance. These “bones’ are removed from large cuttlefish during cleaning.) Nonna’s sepia were quite fresh and had to be gutted and cleaned. As I recall, if she was lucky enough to come upon a sepia’s ink sack, Nonna reserved it and used it to make black pasta noodles.

The story stuck with me and, over the years, I’ve searched high and low for the illusive ink. I wasn’t picky. It didn’t matter whether I found squid or sepia ink. As my search criss-crossed Chicago’s ethnic neighborhoods, I cannot tell you how many dead ends I reached, having followed the advice of some well-meaning people who were sure that it could be found at this place or that. Dejected, I’d give up the search, only to begin it anew when some TV chef used squid ink to make pasta. Once, last year, I even purchased ready-made black pasta noodles. What a disappointment!

This all changed about 3 months ago. Armed with a gift card given to me by Cynthia and Nigel for my last birthday, I went shopping at Chicago’s newest Italian market. (Cynthia Squid Inkand Nigel are the friends with whom I shared the flats in Florence and Rome.) As I passed the fresh pasta counter, I noticed they were selling black pasta. Upon asking, the clerk directed me to the fishmongers and, lo and behold, they had squid ink! Not only that but they had 2 kinds: 1, a large jar of thick paste, and, the other, a much thinner liquid, in packaging that would remind you of those ubiquitous soy sauce packets found at the bottom of every bag of Chinese take-away. After the fishmonger assured me that it would “last forever”, I bought the paste, thinking I could better control the amount used. On the way home, I decided that this would be the dish I would serve Zia for our Christmas dinner.

What I haven’t mentioned is that, months before, I had ordered some bottarga online, intending to serve it to Zia some day. Bottarga is the dried and cured eggs of mullet fish. Thought to have Greek or Arabic origins, bottarga is a Mediterranean product and can be found from Portugal and Spain to North Africa. In Italy, it is most closely identified with Sardinia and Sicily, while here in the States, bottarga is now produced in Florida. (If Bottarga 1interested, “locally” produced Bottarga is usually available this time of year.) Bottarga can be bought dried in the original egg sacks, or sealed in wax, or both. Once purchased, if kept dry, it will last quite some time in the fridge. While its scent has been described as the “breath of the sea”, bottarga is bursting with umami, lending both salty and fishy flavors to your dish. To serve, some may shave thin slices which are then used to top off bruschetta or salads. Using a microplane or similar utensil, others will grate bottarga over pasta, risotto, grilled vegetables, broiled/baked/grilled fish, and even eggs. There is one thing about bottarga, though, that you should consider before rushing off to purchase some. Not everyone likes the stuff. Very much like anchovies, you either love it or hate it. Lucky for us, we all love it.

It took no time to decide what would be the 3rd and final ingredient for our Christmas Eve pasta. Both Zia and I love pasta with clams, vongole. Now, I always go to the Italian markets the day before I depart for Zia’s, buying her a few Italian staples that just aren’t available in her area. In the past, if the fishmonger has fresh clams — especially vongole from Italy — I’ll buy some, pack them in ice, and warn Zia that clams will be on the menu. That’s what I did just prior to my last visit, though the clams were the manila variety. I left the next day knowing that there was a great dinner in our immediate future.

I served this pasta to Zia as our early Christmas Dinner. It was a complete surprise to her and to her son, my cousin the Max Whisperer, who was also seated at the table. Both thoroughly enjoyed the dish, as will you and your guests when you serve it.

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Squid Ink Pasta

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To make squid ink pasta 

It is far easier to make black pasta than you might assume. Gather the ingredients required to make a batch of Mom’s Pasta Dough. Once you’ve placed 4 whole eggs + enough water to equal 1 cup of liquid in a measuring cup, add 1½ tbsp of squid ink. Lightly beat the mixture to fully incorporate the ink. (See Notes) Proceed as your would when making normal pasta dough, cutting it, once dry, to make whichever sized noodles you prefer. (I made trenette because it most closely resembles the pasta that Mom would cut by hand.) Cook as you would normal pasta, removing it from the water just before reaching al dente. Reserve a cup of pasta water.

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To prepare the clams

(See Notes for help with cleaning clams)

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat in a large fry pan with cover. Once hot, add 2 cloves minced garlic and sauté for about a minute. Add 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup white wine, and about 3 dozen vongole. (Cockles, little neck, or manilla clams may be substituted.) Cover the pan and allow the clams to open, about 5 to 8 minutes. Do not overcook and discard any clams that have not opened by the end of the cooking time. Add about 3 tbsp of chopped fresh parsley.

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To assemble the dish and serve

Once the unopened clams have been removed, place the newly drained pasta into the fry pan and toss to coat with the clams and pan juices. Add a little of the reserved pasta water if needed. Pour the pan’s contents on to a serving platter. Drizzle a little of your best extra virgin olive oil on top of the pasta, followed by some chopped parsley. Grate, as you would a garnish, a bit of bottarga on top of the pasta and serve. Once your guests have received their serving, be sure that each receives another sprinkling of bottarga, whether you do the grating or they handle it themselves.

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Squid Ink Pasta 2

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Notes

Blending the squid ink with the eggs ensures that it will be evenly dispersed throughout the pasta dough much more quickly than if added directly to the flour.

If, when handling the dough, your notice your fingers or work surface blackening, it’s a sign that your dough needs a bit more flour. Perfectly mixed flour will not “bleed” black.

Clams must be inspected and cleaned before use.

  1. Examine your clams, discarding any with cracked or broken shells. Also, discard any that are open, even slightly, and that will not close when tapped on a counter top.
  2. Clams bought at most markets today usually have been purged of sand prior to purchase. You must purge the clams if you harvest them yourself or buy them directly from the fishermen. To purge the clams of sand, place them in a deep bowl and cover with room temperature water. Soak for 30 minutes, empty the water and, repeat the process at least another time.
  3. Once purged, use a small brush to scrub the shells. Again, discard any that remain open — even a wee bit — during the scrubbing process.
  4. Clams are now ready for cooking.

The Italian custom of avoiding cheese with most seafood pastas is not some “silly” or “ridiculous” decree. The suggestion is based on the fact that many forms of seafood are quite mildly flavored. Use of Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano would easily overpower the seafood, rendering it almost “invisible” to the palate. In today’s recipe, cheese would most certainly mask the delicate flavors of the squid ink pasta and clams, as well as obliterate all of the bottarga’s scent and much of its flavor. Of course, you can eat whatever you like but if you take the time to seek out and purchase fresh seafood, often at premium prices, why hide it under a blanket of cheese?

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

linquine ai frutti-di mare al cartocci

It was but a year ago when I shared another seafood dish worthy of any Christmas Eve celebration. In that dish, clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari, and scallops were combined with linguine in a mildly spiced tomato sauce and sealed in parchment before being baked. It is a very special dish for a very special night. You can learn how to prepare it by clicking HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Eggs in Purgatory Preview

Eggs in Purgatory

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Buon Natale a Tutti!

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90 thoughts on “Squid Ink Pasta with Clams and Bottarga

  1. Awesome first photo John. But which one is the real Santa?
    Loved reading about sepia – I had no idea it was squid’s cousin, but I now know where the color sepia gets its’ name (or is it the other way around?). Casts me back to the days of re-touching photos by hand, with sepia ink.
    And WOW – first time I’ve ever seen an entire jar of ready-squirted squid ink! That sounds like a seriously good Italian market you have in your area.
    And two more WOWs for the beautiful black ball of dough, and your finished dish. Not at all surprised to hear Zia and your cousin loved it.
    Merriest of Christmases to you John. xx

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    • Merry Christmas, Saskia, to you and your family!
      Yes, it is quite the market, top of the line — with prices to match. I wouldn’t go there for produce or a can of tomatoes but I do go there for Italian imports. No one has a cheese selection like they do. And, yes, that jar of ink caught me by surprise. I didn’t expect to see that much ink right there in the display case on ice. I immediately introduced myself, telling the fishmonger that he’d be seeing a lot more of me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As I mentioned in the post before this, squid ink is big in Japan. I make a point to have squid ink pasta every time I visit Japan (in Japan it is made into the pasta sauce, never had it incorporated in the pasta itself) and always come out of the restaurants with my teeth and gums all black. 😀 ))) I think I appreciated it better this way. The ink is right in the pasta itself and other ingredients can be accompanied, as you have here with clams.

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    • Thanks, Fae. While in Venice once, I, too, enjoyed a dish of pasta that was served in a black sauce and left the table with black gums, teeth, and tongue — but I loved every mouthful. Used here, the flavor is much more subtle so you have to be careful of the other ingredients. On the other hand, you don’t want to use too much ink because the pasta will take on a rather off-putting flavor and scent. Even so, do it right and you’ll be dining on a fine dish of pasta. 🙂

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    • The statement is a paraphrase of a, now deceased, much-loved figure of American baseball Yogi Berra. He was known as “Mr. Malaprop” and many of his statements are part of our language now. You can see some of his more famous one here, Melanie: http://rinkworks.com/said/yogiberra.shtml
      That was a lovely meal, from beginning to end! Delicious!
      I hope you enjoy a wonderful holiday season, Melanie, with good health and fortune in the New Year. 🙂

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  3. Another top quality post John. I have had the pleasure of extracting ink sacks from fresh squid as well as using the little packets. I have a black risotto with scallops on the schedule. Your clams look delightful. I hope your Christmas is likewise (delightful, not black).

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    • Thanks, Conor. You have to give credit to that first brave soul — or village idiot — that saw squid ink and thought, “That looks tasty!” Heaven nly knows what else he tasted before ink.
      Hope your Christmas is a special one.

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  4. That looks fantastic! I’ve cooked squid ink paella and eaten black pasta, but I’ve never made it myself. Perhaps the Imperia machine needs to come down off the shelf during the holidays…
    I love the Santa picture – Merry Christmas John 🙂

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  5. Merry Christmas to you as well John!! Next time I go to Chicago, I want to know about that new Italian market, I must tell you where my friends live so you can give places to go, they live close to a polish market I went to, I got sausages and pirogi love love love, but I couldn’t find Italian 🙂
    Safe and Happy New Year as well!!! 🙂

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  6. Love the Santa coaster, it made me smile.
    I just love when a long desired ingredient is finally found and your recipe honours it absolutely perfectly. I’ve always enjoyed squid ink pasta, it’s so beautiful and really highlights the delicate clams visually.
    The bottarga is relatively new to me, I was introduced to it last year around this time when I shadowed a food stylist assistant shopping for a gig. We stopped in at one of Toronto’s premier grocery stores (Pusateri’s) and we had to ask a clerk to get it for us because it was in a locked cabinet. It was $75 for a very small amount. But that is not why I remember this unusual ingredient John, because I never experienced tasting it. I remember because the check-out girl rang in $7.50 for the piece! Poor thing would have had to pay for it out of her own pocket had I not brought it to her attention! Do you think she thanked me? Not a bit! It’s rather sad. Made me wish I had it in me to teach her a lesson.
    I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year. I have my fingers crossed that Toronto will be in your travel plan in 2015!

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    • Thank you so much, Eva. I’m sure that other shops have squid ink — we’ve a sizable Italian community — but I couldn’t find one. I finally found it at Eataly, along with imported guanciale, gorgonzola, and Pecorino Romano. I was a very happy shopper when I left there.
      What has happened to the polite society that we once enjoyed? I’m sure you notified her of the error because it was the right thing to do and not for any special thanks. Still, a recognition of some sort by her would at least acknowledge that you saved her hide. Well, you did good, Eva. I hope Santa was watching. 😉
      I really do hope to get up North this year. I’ve wanted to see Toronto for some time and 2015 is the year! Wishing you and JT the very best of holiday seasons and may 2015 be a healthy and kind year for you both.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love squid ink pasta, but would never dream of making it myself. 🙂 I’m hoping to eat lots of seafood at our Christmas Brunch Extravaganza tomorrow. 🙂 Have a wonderful feast, John. ‘Eggs in Purgatory’ looks heavenly. 😉

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  8. Wow, what a gorgeous dish.. I’d have to resist the urge to devour it in order to get photos. That rich, deep color would be so much fun to photograph in a variety of settings and lights.. but then my appetite would win the day, lol! This would be a beautiful Christmas Eve meal as well, I’m not sure we have squid ink anywhere here in our little city on the prairies. I can’t believe you’ve found a source, you must be anticipating many more lovely black ink dishes in your future. Bottarga sounds intriguing and reminds me of shaving truffles for a flavour note. Umami is immensely popular and trending on different sites these days, so I’ve got to find some of that as well. Lucky, lucky Zia:) Wishing you and your loved ones a truly loveliest of Christmases and looking forward to many more visits to the Bartolini Kitchens in 2015!!

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  9. Lovely, John. Seafood is the best. My energy level has slumped (and is still sliding) ever since I whacked my chin on one of Maud’s rafters, or I’d slip into my boots and pop out to the Superstore right now for the ingredients.
    I’m intrigued by the idea of manila clams (I thought clams came in shells, not envelopes) and am looking forward to an explanation of the mischief eggs could get up to that would merit them a stay in Purgatory.
    Happy holidays!

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  10. Ooh John I loved this post! In Spain they sell the little packets of squid ink and I’ve used them in risotto but not pasta (yet). Gorgeous dish – the pasta looks so vibrant and I bet the taste with the bottarga was amazing. When I was younger and we went to Italy for the whole of August, we used to go to a restaurant on the beach quite often (apart from when we all sat under a myriad of beach umbrellas and ate the massive picnics made byt hte aunties). Pretty much every time we went I would order pasta alle vongole…and I confess it’s still one of my very favourites! Today we’ve been preparing prawns and langostines for dinner tonight. I’ve just linked (I think) to you on Facebook, so if you pop over to mine you can see what a treat we’re in for 🙂 I do hope you have a wonderful Christmas and that you are sharing and dining with loved ones – we’ll raise a glass to you tonight and wish you Buon Natale. Big hug x

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  11. I’ve never made squid ink pasta — not even sure if I can find the ink (although there are some great Italian markets in St. Louis, so I’m sure I can find it). I always like the way the pasta looks — need to try this sometime. Lovely dish — perfect for Christmas Eve. Speaking of which, Merry Christmas!

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  12. Wow, John! Such mouthwatering dish you have here. I just love all the components of this dish! Not only the ink pasta and vongole, but especially the Bottarga to go with it!
    Once again, you bring me to memory lane, where I can see my grandfather slicing the Bottarga to very thin slices, which would be eaten on their own, letting them melt in the mouth slowly… I was one of the weird kids who loved this fishy condiment, and remember his admiring look for it. Unfortunately he died when I was young and we didn’t share many of these moments, but whenever I have Bottarga it brings back this memory…
    I think this dish would also be perfect on a summer day, preferably near the beach… 🙂

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    • Thank you so much, Karen. Sorry it has taken me so long to rely but Ive not been feeling well. That’s all behind me now and I’m getting back into the swing of things. I hope your holidays were most memorable and that 2015 is all that you’ve hoped it would be — and more.

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  13. Squid ink and the dark pasta always seem so exotic — what a treat for Zia and Max! I splurged on one of the gifts to my husband this year — an imported lemon-infused olive oil. It had the most fabulous flavor and was a total impulse buy at the local kitchen shop. Pasta? Fish? We’ll see what he comes up with as he dabbles in the kitchen.

    Merry Christmas, John, and cheers to another year of food inspiration!

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  14. John, this all looks gorgeous! When in our local Italian deli buying stocking stuffers a few days ago, my husband and I agreed, we need to do an Italian Christmas next year. Hope your holiday is so merry and bright. xo

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  15. I love the sound of ‘Eggs in Pergatory’. It’s amazing to think some people manage to eat a 12-course dinner ahead of all the feasting on Christmas Day. I’m so impressed you made your own squid-ink pasta. Isn’t it a fabulous colour! I agree that keeping the cheese away from these sorts of dishes is the best idea. Merry Christmas to you and all your family and friends xx

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  16. Bonjourno John and very Merry and blessed Christmas to you and your family! Wow you have been tantalising us with all of your delicious dishes for 4 years?!?! it only seems like we met yesterday… Gorgeous dish and you always make everything seem so easy but this only because your the pro pasta maker. I am so happy you found your new wet market and trusted fish monger. Fresh squid ink pasta vs dried squid pasta from the factory are miles apart in taste and texture. I had some fresh squid ink pasta during my last visit to Italy and I can’t describe it but it had this most amazing flavour. I know it looks scary to some but so very tasty and so glad I could enjoy it fresh. i have a lot of catching up to do as I was out of town and you have been cooking up a storm! Take Care, BAM

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  17. John, that is one spectacular dish… and what a way to celebrate (early) Christmas Dinner with Zia and the Max Whisperer! The squid ink pasta is so striking and I’d be intrigued to taste the bottarga (I’m not totally sure I’d be in the same boat with those who LOVE it – always willing to try though… 🙂 ) As always, impressed by your skills in the kitchen.
    Warm wishes over the Festive Season to the Bartolini clan!

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  18. You are one hardcore cook Mr. John. Wow. I think you need to go on one of those competition cooking shows, like The Taste. You’d beat them all. Thanks for sharing how the seafood Christmas Eve came to pass. When I told my Catholic friends that it’s a Catholic tradition not to eat meat on Christmas Eve, they balked at me, saying it was only an Italian tradition. I had no idea when I was growing up that it wasn’t Catholic, but rather, Catholic-Italian. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Blessings to you in the New Year.

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    • Thank you so much, Lori. January was a tough month and I’m just starting to clear the backlog of posts and comments. Depending upon the age of your friends, they may have no recollection of Christmas Eve being a day of fast and abstinence. (Yes, I’m an old fart.) Things changed in the early 1960’s. They’re right, too, that some of these were not so much Catholic law as they were local custom. I’m just glad we followed the law/custom. I would have missed out on a lot of great food otherwise. 🙂

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  19. This very pasta is the subject of a long-running debate in our house. My fave husband loves the thought of “black pasta”, while I’m more reluctant. However, maybe it’s time I lived on the edge and tried it. Perhaps it should be a 2015 resolution…

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  20. am fascinated by the pasta. Enjoyed squid ink ice cream once–liked the deeper, darker flavor very much. You are living the culinary dream 🙂 Egg dish looks amazing, too.

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  21. Aaah…squid ink. Of course, I haven’t tried it but love how it looks. Does it taste fishy? Or have any taste at all? I don’t know if I can find any here, we do have some Italian markets so I guess it’s a matter of looking for it., that is after you tell me it doesn’t taste fishy 🙂
    Hope you had a lovely Christmas. Wishing you all the best for the New Year! Here’s to many more great posts!

    Nazneen

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    • Hello, Nazneen! I’m getting back into the swing of things. I don’t think squid ink pasta is for you, my friend. Though once cooked, the flavor is mildly fishy, the scent of the raw dough and squid ink itself is far stronger. Knowing your dislike of seafood, you may not be able to get beyond this.
      Thanks for the hoiday wishes and I hope that the New Year is being kind to you and your family.

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  22. I love squid ink pasta. You are right – the ready made stuff is almost tasteless and a severe disappointment. After seeing your instructions, I am going to try my hand at making my own, but we don’t get the paste, only the liquid ink in sacks from my fishmonger. Have you tried making a squid ink risotto? Very delish! Love the photo of the santas!

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    • I so agree. The store-bought were such a disappointment. Finding squid ink at Eataly was a stroke of luck. You are the 2nd person o suggest making risotto with squid ink. Zia will be returning for a visit in May. This sounds like a great “Welcome!” dish.

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  23. I thought of you today when I made saffron risotto; not with prawns as I sent the recipe to you, instead with ossobuco. I could feel you looking over my shoulder as I prepared the food and it simmered away most of the day.

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    • Hello, Elaine! Funny. You made ossobuco and, prior to getting ill, I was all set to make your risotto. The problem was I couldn’t find my saffron. The weather was miserable and I decided to stay indoors and make my risotto with seafood but no saffron. Drat! Next time. I’ve already bought the saffron.

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  24. What a nice dish, John! Unfortunately Kees can’t stand squid ink, it’s one of the very few things he won’t eat and he would interpret me serving it to him as me asking for a divorce 😉 When eating pasta (or risotto) made with squid ink at restaurants, I noticed that it has a ‘fresher’ taste when it is from made from fresh ink. (That sounds pretty obvious I guess.) Good explanation of why parmigiano is not a good idea with this dish. Hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas!

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  25. It has now been more that 7 years since I’ve had squid ink pasta and your beautiful and delicious dish has left me absolutely craving some – now! I never knew one could purchase squid ink paste… I actually expected to so see photos of you squeezing the “ink” out of a squid or something…LOL. Happy to see homemade squid ink pasta isn’t as hard as I imagined! Your culinary skills continue to delight and amaze me, John! Fabulous post. 🙂

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  26. This is my fourth holiday on here as well John. Crazy right? But I am having loads of fun with it. I just love the top photo, I just wish it was warm enough here for me to do that. Now I will be honest, I’m not sure I will be able to make this squid ink pasta, but it sure looks good lol. I hope you had a great holiday

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  27. Your feast looks divine! I’ve wanted to use squid ink for a long time in my cooking. However, the two times I’ve had squid ink pasta (while out to dine) I became sick afterwards. I’m not sure if it was the squid ink or not, so I’m really hesitant to try it…

    Also, I had no idea about Bottarga before. I doubt I can find it in my small Amish & Mennonite community, but I’ll have to keep my eyes open at the markets the next time I visit my parents in Philly.

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

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  28. Happy New Year to you! I was a little puzzled when I read your post. I thought your cousins name of Max Whisperer was a little odd, thinking that Whisperer was a very Italian sounding name, so I went back and re read and then it all became clear!

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  29. I’m just catching up with my blogging friends and of course, as usual you’ve really nailed it for seafood fantastic-o!!! I have never tried the pasta with the squid ink but I just heard from my daughter that there’s a new restaurant in Boston that offers it. She had it and said that it was excellent. I hope that you all had a wonderful Merry Christmas and may everyone have a healthy, happy New Year.
    Oh, and I think you might get a kick out of this – my husband’s side of the family is from Italy and I’m not sure if it’s just genetic or if it’s the olive oil and pasta but they all lived well into their late 80’s and 90’s. Last weekend we went to his last surviving aunt’s 100th birthday! Most of her nieces, nephews, and grandchildren were there & I have to say just about everyone had some medical issue or tales of surgery – except the birthday girl. 100 years old & she’s still shoveling her own snow & mowing her lawn.

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    • You daughter obviously has exquisite taste, Diane. I’m sure that you can easily find squid ink at any number of Italian markets in Boston. Do yourself a favor, though, and avoid the pre-made, dried, squid ink pasta noodles. They are a poor excuse for the real deal. Your centenarian Aunt sounds like she’s really something. I don’t know where they get the energy but they have it in abundance. While touring the city of San Marino, which is located on top of a mountain, I was huffing and puffing as we walked along. My Zia, though, and countless old timers, were walking up, down, and all around as if they were walking on flat tableland. I was amazed — breathless but amazed, nonetheless. 🙂

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  30. What an incredible seafood feast. You really know how to do it, John. I hope that Christmas was all you hoped and planned for! We ended up with a little “party” in the hospital as my husband received pneumonia for his Christmas gift–all is just great now and in some ways we’ve enjoyed a little quiet. He loves squid and clams…so maybe I owe him this effort as a treat to make up for what he’s missed out on. I hope 2015 is a fruitful, healthy and peace-filled year. 🙂

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  31. Fantastic job, as usual!

    I am here smiling because I just saw a sourdough bread made with – ready for this? – CHARCOAL… and it was black, black, black – imagine that bread next to a black pasta? WOW!

    could be overkill, though

    I hope your 2015 is starting smoothly, peacefully, looking forward to your culinary adventures this year…

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  32. Happy 2015 John!! Hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday season! It’s always fun coming to visit you because I learned about such unusual ingredients. I’ve heard of squid ink, but have never used it or tried it and bottarga? What the heck? Even once I read what it was, I’ve still never heard of it. Definitely cultures, different foods – love it!

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  33. John, hope your New Year starts out well, and it looks like it has with this dish. I don’t have much access to squid ink, but always such interesting facts to pick up on a visit here. I so long to travel in Italy and Greece. One of these days I’m going to do it if I have to catch a ride with a passing gull. Anyhow, Happy New Year to you. Susie

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  34. We were first introduce to squid ink pasta when in Italy, a uniquely beautiful ingredient. There is something deeply satisfying in securing choice ingredients to mutually share the love of food with those we love. It sounds like you had a memorable Christmas Eve! Happy New Year, John!

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  35. I have seen bottled squid ink to buy but after cooking the ready made black noodles which were a real disappointment as they had no flavour I wrote off purchasing it. Now with your fond memory and this delicious recipe you have inspired me. Thanks.

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  36. I have always been a little in awe of those who make squid ink pasta. Your dish looks fantastic! Hopefully, one day I will muster up the courage to make it myself, rather than just have others make it for me 🙂

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    • It is far easier to make than you’ve imagined. The real challenge is finding squid ink, at least it was for me. I’ve yet to try the ink that comes in the little packets. I will next time I see them in the shop. Can’t wait!

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  37. Such a striking post! That jet black pasta really catches the eye. I’ve never had squid ink pasta. I’m not likely to make it, but I would like to try it sometime. Maybe I could sit down at the table with all those Santas and we could share a big bowl. Hope all is well in your corner of the world!

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    • Good of you to inquire, Sally. I’ve had a rough January, fighting a flu that just wouldn’t give up. I’m far better now, though, and have been trying to clear up my over-stuffed inboxes. ‘m just about finished and plan on posting a recipe later today. I cannot wait! Again, thanks for checking-in.

      Liked by 1 person

  38. Wow, John, what a work of art!!! I’ve sorely missed coming here for ages, and it’s nice to be home, healthy, and have a moment of stolen leisure so I can pop by and slobber on my keyboard for a while in your kindly kitchen. This is a dish that, given its rarefied ingredients, I would only trust to the hands of a master like you, so when my magical fortune arrives unannounced, I will hire you, whisk you hither and yon to acquire the ingredients at the most entertaining and exclusive of purveyors’, and have you walk me through the making *and* the eating of this mystical dish. Meanwhile, it’s lovely as ever to have your description of the food, the process, and especially the Bartolini history of it. 😀

    Hope your 2015 has started splendidly and will be jam- (or bottarga-) packed with joy!
    Kathryn

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  39. Pingback: Receta fácil de los calamares en su tinta ¡Deliciosa!

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