Good Lord. This was so good I could have licked my bowl. I wanted to create a beautiful dish using squid ink pasta and it was important that it taste as spectacular as it looked. Through several evening power walks I pondered how I could create a rich, transparent sauce that wouldn’t cover the pasta’s intense color. I knew that garlic, shallots and wine were a must. After some reading I decided to add clams and their juice, which was the magic ingredient that added depth and complexity. The lemon juice complemented the seafood, and a splash of half and half added richness.
I buy Rustichella brand squid ink spaghetti from Pastaworks, a great, local store here in Portland, Oregon. It’s also available online.
Squid ink pasta with shrimp and minced clams. Serves 4
½ pound squid ink spaghetti (you can substitute squid ink linguini)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
1 generous pinch red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (6 ounce) can minced clams (drain and reserve clam juice)
½ dry white wine
¼ cup chicken broth
Juice from 1 juicy lemon
¼ cup half and half
¾ pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
A nice handful of chopped, fresh Italian parsley
Cook pasta until al dente.
While pasta’s cooking, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet. Add the minced shallot and sauté until it’s tender, stirring constantly. Add red pepper flakes and garlic. Continue to cook until garlic is fragrant. Add the reserved clam juice and white wine and turn heat to high. Cook for 2-3 minutes until sauce has reduced to half, but no more. Reduce heat and add chicken broth, lemon juice, and half and half. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the shrimp and clams, cover the pan and cook for a minute or two just until the shrimp turn pink. Taste, and season with salt if needed.
Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Add parsley. Toss until pasta is coated with sauce.
Drain spaghetti. Add spaghetti and parsley to sauce and toss until pasta’s coated. Divide between four warm bowls and serve immediately. Serve with a crusty loaf of French bread.