Happy Victoria Day today for those of us in Canada.
If you’ve been paying close attention, you may have noticed a new menu at the top for “travel.”
This is because I am leaving in three weeks for an epic 5 week trans-Siberian journey.
As I won’t have access to a kitchen during this time, I will plan to update on the topic of food and travel.
Many of you who know me personally know I spent about three years in Russia, working and studying (not at the same time). I’ve been a lot of places in Russia (and I’m fluent in the language), but I never had the time to do what is generally considered to be a “bucket list” kind of trip on the famous Trans-Siberian Railway.
I’ll be spending most of my time around Lake Baikal (pictured above) in the republic of Buryatia. To date if you want to know what Buryat cuisine consists of (at least in English language sources), you’ll generally only be able to uncover its similarity to Mongolian cuisine.
Why the windy Russia chit chat? You may not think it, but this recipe is wholly inspired by Russia of all things. For years I lived in Moscow and ate my beloved Pasta Negoro from Coffee Mania, which was my first brush with squid ink pasta/cuttlefish ink pasta/black pasta. For those of you who aren’t familiar (because I know if we had access to it growing up, we would have eaten it instead of spaghetti), these noodles are black from the ink from squid or cuttlefish. If you’re up to the challenge, you can make your own, but I chose to buy mine in the store. When it came to replicating the sauce from Moscow, I had to rely on memory, but luckily flavour is like smell and triggers immediate memory reactions even if 30 years have passed. I remember what the candle in my grandma’s bathroom smelled like from childhood that when I unexpectedly found that smell two and half decades later in an air freshener, I promptly bought three of them. Yes, the power of the senses.
This recipe is actually rather simple, it consists of three major aspects: cooking the pasta according to its directions, making the sauce and defrosting and draining the seafood. That’s it. The way it comes together so easily is really nice and will make this a regular for me. I have to say first off, that the restaurant used way more sauce in their version, but that is a matter of serving decadence. I made just enough for the pound of noodles to cover, no excess even though it is delicious. The dish is already decadent without needing to add so much sauce that it becomes impossible to stop eating.
Obviously I chose mixed seafood, but you could easily substitute with your favourite kind. I would suggest using a seafood, as the noodles themselves have a very subtle taste of the sea that works well. Another thing, don’t skimp out on the white wine (I used chardonnay). It is the essence of the sauce and gives the dish the cohesiveness that it deserves.
Big chunks of seafood + white wine cream + pasta comfort deliciousness.
But spaghetti al nero di sepia has a visual punch that regular pasta does not. Keeping that in mind, this dish is perfect for dinner parties when these three conditions are fulfilled:
- Your guests eat/like seafood.
- You want to keep things simple.
- You want to impress.
You can find spaghetti al nero di sepia for making cuttlefish ink pasta with seafood these days in most urban pasta isles. If not there, try your international foods isle with the Italian products.
This pasta makes me so happy. I am excited about eating leftovers for lunch this week.
I mean, how could I not be?
So by now, you must want all the details that go into making it. Here it is.
- 1 pound black pasta/cuttlefish ink pasta/squid ink pasta
- 1 pound frozen seafood medley, thawed and drained
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup white wine
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ½ cup parmesan, shredded
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- salt to taste
- Prepare the noodles according to package instructions.
- Over medium heat melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic and stir. Add the white wine and bring to a simmer for about 3 minutes. Add the cream, parmesan, pepper and salt while continuing to stir.
- Remove from heat, add in seafood. Toss prepared noodles in sauce and serve immediately.