OK, it’s dark. But, that doesn’t make it a dark secret, per se. In fact, it’s just dark. There really is no secret about it. I could have gone down a “My Dark Past” route with this. But, Michael Jackson cornered that particular market a while ago. I could have suggested that the squid was caught in the Dark Net but, the Dark Net is not a place in which any of us want to get caught. So, I went with Dark Secret.
I could also have not written any introductory rubbish and just given you the very simple recipe for Squid Ink Pasta with Prawns, Crab and Asparagus. But, where’s the fun in that? I wouldn’t be able to show off my dark humour if I did.
Ingredients (for 2)
- 180 grammes of 00 flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 small sachets of squid ink (ask your fishmonger)
- 12 prawns (raw)
- 8 crab toes (cooked)
- 1 single bulb garlic or 3 cloves or regular garlic
- A handful of asparagus spears
- A good splash of brandy
Side note on squid ink. If you ask about squid ink and your fishmonger stares back at you like a cod looking out of a display cabinet, get a new fishmonger.
Break the eggs into the bowl of your stand mixer. Squeeze in the ink.
Beat the eggs until the ink is reasonably well incorporated.
Gradually add the flour and mix until the stand mixer starts to rock around the place. Change the beater hook for the dough hook and give the pasta a good 10 minutes kneading in the bowl. This saves you having to do it on a work surface.
Wrap the pasta in cling film and leave it in the fridge for half an hour. Remove it from the fridge and let it come back to room temperature. Cut it into three pieces and pass it through the pasta machine. Mine is a hand crank one and it does the job pretty well.
I do think I made this pasta a little on the wet side and I have adjusted the flour quantity in the recipe to compensate for that. However, if you use smaller eggs than I did, you will be in trouble. Likewise with bigger eggs. You are just going to have to use your judgment. (That is dark humour, BTW).
The flour around the place in these shots is semolina. It will fall away from the pasta in the cooking. It’s great for keeping the pasta threads separate.
Next, chop the garlic. Heat some oil in a frying pan and add the prawns. Once they have been added, add the garlic and stir until they are about half-cooked.
Then add the crab toes. Warm these while the prawns are finishing. Then add the glug of brandy. Flame off the alcohol. This is great fun.
Steam the asparagus for 5 minutes. Pop the pasta into a big pot of boiling salted water. It will cook in 2 minutes. Rinse the pasta with more boiling water. Sprinkle with a little parsley, Give it a twist of black pepper and serve in warm bowls with a glass of nice white wine.
For once, I can say this is a dark secret worth sharing. The fresh black pasta is beautiful. Nothing you can rehydrate comes anywhere close. Do go to the little bit of trouble to make your own. It really has the capacity to brighten the darkest day.