squid ink pasta with cígalas


More and more, the older I get and the longer I live in a raw product paradise, it's the only word I really want to hear in the kitchen.

Simplicity, and the simple fact that this would be the second of five (or was it six?) courses, was the inspiration for this pasta. I knew I wanted to cook something with cígalas, a cousin of shrimp that manages to be meatier, more tender, and scarier-looking all at once. I thought a bunch of fresh herbs and perhaps leeks or young garlic would be the perfect accompaniment to the briny notes of the pasta and meat. Dressed with nothing more than lemon juice and extremely delicious arbequina olive oil, it was perfect...green with scallions and parsley and tasting of the ocean, with cígalas and squid ink.

This is one of my favorite food companies. Sandro Desii makes various inventive and delicious pastas here in Spain. Before I lived here, every trip to San Sebastián, I would stop at Don Serapio and buy a different box of pasta. I still remember...chive flavored spaghetti, lemon flavored shells, tallarines flavored with tomato and garlic.  It's not just a gourmet gimmick; these pastas really taste of what they say they do. So I finally picked up a box on my way home from work that I'd been dying to try...their cubed squid ink spaghettis.

Nestled among the artisan foie served with toast, the caramelized onion/leek/cheese bread pudding, crepes, and black bean stew, this dish was my favorite of all.

squid ink pasta with cígalas

  • 1 lb squid ink pasta
  • 4 cígalas
  • 4-5 bunches of scallions, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon

Heat water to a boil. Salt. Boil cígalas for 4-5 minutes, until cooked but barely. Peel, and chop the meat into bite size pieces.Then, if you are an overacheiver, boil more water. If you are lazy, use the same already boiling water to blanch sliced scallions. Run under cold water, or shock in an ice bath.

Boil more water. Salt. Toss in pasta. Meanwhile, heat a bit of olive oil and saute smashed garlic clove to impart some of the flavor to the oil. Remove when browned. Toss in the cígala meat to warm, scallions, and then the pasta when it is finished cooking and drained. To finish, when all is warmed, toss with a few tablespoons of the good olive oil, the juice from the lemon, and the fresh herb (parsley). Serve.