Squid ink pasta with clams and white wine
As frosty mornings give way to evenings bathed in the gentle glow of spring light it is at last apparent that winter has let slip its icy grip on our fair island nation. Afternoons are no longer suddenly swallowed by night. Instead the light stretches out, filled with bird song, the playful chatter of children or the sound of a distant lawn mower as it is passes back and forth, leaving neat lines in the new spring grass.
I am hopeful that come the end of October the weather might be mild enough for us to shift outdoors and dine under the languid branches of our Pepper tree. I can see this dish featuring in my spring repertoire. The handmade squid ink pasta is paired with a citrus-spiked white wine sauce and peppered with salty, sweet clams to make a deliciously fresh spring dish. Should the idea of hand making pasta not appeal, substitute it with store bought fettucini and it will still be delicious.
Serves 6Squid Ink Pasta
24g squid ink
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt
Clams with White Wine
4tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 tsp dried chillies
100ml white wine
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
Lemon wedges to serve
600g squid ink pasta (approximately half the quantity from the recipe above)
MethodSquid Ink Pasta
1. Mix together the flour and sea salt and place on a clean surface. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the oil, squid ink and the eggs. Using a fork, work the wet ingredients into the dry until it comes together to form a dough.
2. With clean hands begin to knead the pasta. Continue to knead the dough for 10 – 15 minutes until it becomes silky smooth. This is an important step in the pasta-making process as it ensures the gluten in the flour develops resulting in beautifully fine pasta.
3. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate for 1 ½ - 2 hours the divide the dough into 12 pieces, re-wrap 11 and leaving 1 to work with.
5. Flatten the piece of dough and feed it through the thickest setting on the pasta maker. Fold it in 3 and roll it through again. Repeat this process 10 times. This develops the silky texture of the pasta.
6. Work through each of the settings until you have reached the narrowest (at this stage you are no longer folding the pasta in 3). Make sure to pass the dough through 5 or 6 times before moving on to the next setting. Once you have rolled out your sheet lay it flat on the bench and cut thick strips from the sheet approximately 2cm wide. Hang the pasta up to dry (this will take around 2 hours). On broom handles between 2 chairs is a good place, or on a clothes horse.
7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the remaining balls of dough.
Clams with White Wine
1. Soak the clams for 30 minutes in cold water. This is an important step and ensures some of the salt is washed from the clams as they are naturally very salty.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the garlic and chilli for several minutes. You don’t want it to colour too much so watch it carefully.
3. Add the clams and cook over a high heat with the lid on for about 4 minutes or until the clams have opened. Remove the clams with a slotted spoon, discarding any which have not opened. Remove half the clams from their shells and discard the shells. Set aside with the remaining clams.
4. Keeping the heat high, add the wine and ¾ of the parsley (finely chopped) to the saucepan and cook the liquid for several minutes until it begins to reduce and thicken a little.
5. In the meantime cook the pasta in salted water until al dente.
6. Return the clams to the pan with the sauce, add the pasta and give it all a good mix so that the sauce evenly coats the pasta. Season to taste (the clams are quite salty so you may not need to add salt to this dish at all) and serve garnished with the remaining whole parsley leaves and lemon wedges.