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’re not a fan of chilli, then leave it out and if you can’t get hold of squid, prawns would work well too.
100g bunch fresh coriander, washed and dried
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 -4 fresh jalapeno or green chillies, depending on heat preference
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Salt and pepper
100g blanched almonds
2 Beldi Preserved Lemons, quartered, flesh removed, and skin finely chopped
200ml Early Harvest Olive Oil, plus a little for cooking the squid
350g Black Spaghetti
500g cleaned fresh/frozen squid
Heat oven to 175C, once hot place your almonds on a baking try 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 doesn’t 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 lemon 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 till ready to use. This can be done up to a day ahead but is best eaten on the day.
To prep the squid, open up the tube by cutting inside, starting at the open end and working towards the point. Cut each tube in half lengthways and cut any tentacles into 2.
Place a large pan of salted water on the stove top, cover and place on a high heat and when boiling, add the 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 minutes 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 pasta 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 isn’t big enough, use the pan that you cooked the spaghetti in. Taste and season with more salt if you feel it is lacking. Divide between plates and serve.