Friday, 22 January 2016

Down on Squid Row!

Pasta con Calamaretti Croccante, Peperone, Piselli & Olive
Pasta with Crispy Pineapple Squid, Bell Pepper, Peas & Olives

Pasta is pasta is pasta- right? Well maybe... for sure- pasta is what you make it! There is no food more versatile that Italy's greatest gift to the world of cuisine!

And you will know by now, that you will rarely find me presenting you with a typical pasta dish with tomato sauce- as delicious as that may be- you don#t need to see something you know so well over and over again... I am sure like me, you are much more interested in something new!

And what was on the menu this evening? Crispy, delicious squid- that's what! They had been sitting in the freezer awaiting their starring role at the supper table- so with a little help from a few more modest friends from the fridge, I made sure to make it into a performance worthy of a standing ovation!

For 2 wonderful portions of pasta, I needed 1 bell pepper, around 2 cups of peas (fresh in this case but frozen are fine too), 1 shallot, 3-4 olives, 5-6 small squid, fresh parsley, salt, pepper and olive oil.

The squid I just happened to have were these so-called "pineapple" squid that you can get from the Asian supermarkets, which are finely scored with a criss-cross pattern of cuts that makes them especially fast-cooking and tender... try them they're fun!

But of course. if they are not readily available to you, regular squid are perfectly fine too.

I began by boiling the water for my pasta, and gave the squid a brief batch for 10 minutes to get them cooked through- that should be plenty for the little fellas. After that, in went the pasta- 2 good handfuls of tortiglione in this case- and on went the show!

In the meantime, I fried the squid in just a tablespoon or so of olive oil at a high temperature for 3-4 minutes until it became crispy and golden on the outside- seasoned with a little salt and pepper and set it to one side whilst I carried on with the rest of the ingredients. 

After the pasta had boiled for 2-3 minutes, I added the peas and let them cook along with it for maybe 3 minutes more- which was enough time to sizzle the pepper and shallot together.

Once the shallot had become translucent and the pepper had begun to soften, I added the olives, which I cut into slivers and fried them together for a minute or two.

I then added the pasta and peas, plenty of black pepper and a good pinch of parsley and continued cooking everything together, along with a little of the water from the pasta. 

This is more or less the way that I always prepare my pasta dishes... there is nothing sadder than having a pile of sad, white, dried-out pasta on your plate and then plopping a spoonful of sauce on top! People- please!!!

Add a little more of the water as necessary and keep stirring until the pasta becomes lush and glossy and packed with all the flavors that have been building up from the peppers, shallot and olives- and after 4-5 minutes in the frying pan you should be ready to serve!

Add the crispy squid and a little fresh parsley and enjoy! the sweet pepper and shallot and the salty olives make a great contrast and taste delicious with the peas and pasta- but please- no cheese! That's another no-no with seafood dishes in Italy! But garlic or chili? Sure!

I think this was a great way to end the week and to begin the weekend... no matter how bleak the weather is outside- with a plate of food like this to enjoy, everything seems a whole lot brighter all of a sudden! Don't you agree?

No comments:

Post a Comment