Black Spaghetti uses squid ink to achieve its dark colour, so it feels natural to use it in a dish that includes squid, all tied together with a non-traditional pesto full of bright vibrant flavours that give a great colour contrast. If you are not a fan of chilli, feel free to leave it out and if you cannot get hold of squid, prawns would work well too.
100g blanched almonds
3 garlic cloves, peeled
100g bunch fresh coriander, washed and dried
2-4 fresh jalapeño or green chillies, depending on heat preference
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 Beldi Preserved Lemons, quartered, flesh removed, and skin finely chopped
200ml Early Harvest Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus a little for cooking the squid
500g squid, cleaned and fresh or frozen
350g Black Spaghetti
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 175C/Fan 155C/Gas Mark 3 and once hot, place your almonds on a baking tray and toast for 8 minutes until they are lightly brown. Remove from the oven, allow to cool a little then roughly chop.
The easiest way to make the pesto is using a small food processor, chopping the garlic, coriander and chillies together then adding the lemon zest, juice, almonds and Preserved Lemons in. The pesto can also be chopped by hand, which gives a coarser texture, that looks great on the pasta as you can see the different ingredients (and it does not take that much longer either).
If you are making the pesto by hand start by finely chopping the coriander, stalk and all, into small pieces and place in a bowl. On the same board, finely chop the garlic, season with salt then crush to a paste using the flat part of the knife, then add to the coriander. Finely dice the chilli, then add to the coriander and garlic. Stir through the lemon juice and zest, season with salt and pepper, then add the chopped Preserved Lemons and toasted almonds. Add the Olive Oil, stir to combine then taste and add more salt and pepper as you feel is necessary. Cover the pesto and refrigerate until ready to use. This can be done up to a day ahead but is best eaten on the day.
To prepare the squid, open up the tube by cutting inside, starting at the open end and working towards the point. Cut each tube in half length ways and cut any tentacles into two.
Place a large pan of salted water on the stove top, cover and place on a high heat and when boiling, add the Black Spaghetti. Stir to prevent sticking, lower the heat to a gentle boil and cook for around 9–10 minutes, or until al dente.
Whilst the spaghetti is cooking, place a large frying pan on a high heat. When hot, season the squid with salt, then drizzle a little Olive Oil into the pan. Place the squid carefully into the pan, inside edge first. Cook for around 1 minute to 90 second (depending on thickness of the squid) then flip over and cook for another minute, then remove from the pan. Repeat until the tubes and tentacles have been cooked, then turn the heat off, but keep the pan to mix through the pesto and Spaghetti as you want the flavours of squid from the pan. When cool enough to handle, thinly slice the squid into thin strips.
Drain the Spaghetti into a colander and shake to remove the water. Pour into the pan that you used to cook the squid, then add the pesto and squid and toss to combine using 2 spoons or tongs. If the pan that you cooked the squid in is not big enough, use the pan that you cooked the Spaghetti in. Taste and season with more salt if you feel it is needed. Divide between plates and serve.