We are finally beginning to see some winter thaw and spring-like weather here. It only just started this past weekend. Although the night time and early morning temperatures are still below freezing, the day time temperatures are now above freezing. The sun is out and the snow piles are getting smaller. Hopefully they will all disappear soon.
Since we have been having a lot of stews and slow cooker dishes in the past weeks, we were in the mood for some pasta with the slightly “warmer” weather. Not too long ago, I did mention that Ro-Ri San had purchased a variety of pasta home from his recent trip to Rome. So far, I have only used one pack of the pasta for this Garganelli alla Arrabiatta dish. It is now time to use another pack for today’s recipe.
This Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia or squid ink spaghetti was the very first one Ro-Ri San purchased. He made a really good choice as the pasta was extruded with the traditional bronze dies. These dies give the pasta a rough textured surface that appears whitish and allows the sauce to “cling” to the pasta when cooked. Most other kinds of pasta are extruded using teflon and nylon dies, giving them a smooth sheen.
I have been wanting to replicate the dish that Ro-Ri San had in Rome as it looked so delicious. I figured the squid ink spaghetti would combine well with mussels. Initially, I was a little unsure about the color as I did not want the mussels to be camouflaged in the mix. After boiling the spaghetti, thankfully the color did turn a lighter shade and contrasted nicely with the mussels. Best of all was its wonderful texture – tender yet firm. It held the sauce beautifully, making it very tasty. I was really impressed!
This recipe for Squid Ink Spaghetti with Mussels was inspired by Mario Batali’s Spaghetti with Mussels (Spaghetti con le Cozze) at epicurious.com. I added some grape tomatoes for a pop of color.
- 1 lb (450g) squid ink or regular spaghetti
- ¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 lb (450g) mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
- 12 grape tomatoes, halved
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
Boil spaghetti in lightly salted water until al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes or according to packaging instructions.
In a large pan, heat olive oil. Cook garlic and red pepper flakes for about a minute over medium heat. Pour in wine and bring it to a boil.
Add mussels, cover pan with a lid, and allow mussels to cook until they open. This should take about 5 minutes. Discard any that do not open.
Drain pasta, reserving ¼ cup (60ml) liquid. Add pasta, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and reserved liquid to the pan. Toss to coat pasta with sauce.
Stir in parsley. Turn off heat and dish onto plates.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!