While strolling through the ales of my local World Market one day, I spotted several interesting pastas of the dried variety. One in particular that really got me excited was the Squid Ink Spaghetti. Wow! I’ve always wanted to try squid ink pasta. Here was my chance.
I’ve never even eaten Squid Ink Pasta. Had no idea what to expect or anything. Talk about completely working in the dark. Yet I knew how to boil water and cook spaghetti. I knew how to pan-sear scallops. With fingers crossed, I went for it.
What a surprise. Squid Ink Pasta does have a little salty flavor, but not to the point of overwhelming the taste buds. It’s just a hint, so there is no need to add salt to the cooking water unless you like in your face salty pasta. It’s also creamy, almost like a Risotto, but not that deeply creamy. Again, just a hint of creamy texture. No, not even texture. It was more a taste. A nutty creamy taste like a fine hard cheese.
Hubby wandered into the kitchen just as I was putting the final touches on the scallops. The pasta was in a warm bowl, just waiting for the perfectly seared scallops to be placed on top. He looked at the serving bowl, made a strange face and said he would try but didn’t think this was going to work for him. The deep blackness of the pasta put him off. This from the man that once tried a bowl of Eel Soup with little things swimming about. I appreciated his honesty. Naked the pasta dose seem a bit strange.
But topped with scallops and sprinkled with parsley, the dish looks inviting and colorful and contrasting. All good things.
Seared Scallops Over Squid Ink Spaghetti
8 oz Squid Ink Spaghetti
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons Shallots, minced
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 lb Sea Scallops
White Pepper to taste
1/4 cup unsalted Butter
1/4 cup White Wine
3 tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped (for garnish)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta al-dente, 7 to 9 minutes or according to package direction.
While the water comes to a boil, mince garlic cloves and set aside. Mince shallots and set aside.
Heat a thin layer of the oil covering the entire bottom of a large skillet over medium-high heat. Give the oil time to get fully hot. Look for the oil to shimmer then right after that come the faintest wisps of smoke.
Pat scallops dry, then season with just a little white pepper. Make sure the scallops are very dry to achieve that perfect sear. Gently place the scallops in the pan. DO NOT crowd the pan, work in batches if necessary. Scallops need their space to sear rather than steam. Sear for about 2 minutes or so. Check by lifting with tongs. Seared scallops should have a should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on around the edge on each side while still being translucent in the center. Turn when ready, sear the other side.
Transfer seared scallops to a plate and keep warm. Repeat the searing process with any remaining scallops.
Remove the pan from the heat, allowing the residual heat to melt the butter. Swirl the pan, then return to low heat. Add the shallots, cook for about 2 minutes until tender. Add the garlic, cook for another 1 or so.
Add the wine. swirl the pan. Return the scallops to the pan. Chop the parsley, sprinkle over the scallops.
Drain pasta, reserving about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Place pasta in a large rimmed serving bowl. Add water and pull pasta to keep everything moist. Add scallops in the wine sauce. Toss gently and serve.
This is delicious served with Asparagus Parma with Prosciutto. The Prosciutto imparts a slightly salty, nutty flavor that compliments the Squid Ink Pasta beautifully.