On a grey day (and isn’t it so grey now?), saffron on your plate can brighten your heart as well as your dinner plate. Golden yellow and joyful, delicious too. Sure it is expensive, but it is used sparingly, and it is always worth having some in your cupboard. This grey weather is tough, it needs sunshine, however we find it.
I love to make pasta at home when I can carve the time for it. Some pasta takes no time at all. A favourite speedy homemade pasta is malloreddus aka gnocchetti Sardi. Southern pastas like this can be fast and straight forward. Just flour (semola di grano duro) and water with a little salt, combined and kneaded until supple, then rested before being shaped. Some shapes are easier than others, and all with practice become a speedy and therapeutic thing. Gnocchetti Sardi is the perfect example of this. Shaped traditionally on the lines of wicker baskets and more commonly now on gnocchi boards, you can use a fork if you don’t have one of these. I have used a comb once purchased at a corner shop near a friends in Ireland when we decided last minute that we quite fancied a fun cooking session.
Squid ragu first grabbed my attention at the now (sadly) closed Koffman’s. Pierre Koffman’s squid ragu was deeply savoury, wrapped around tender strips of squid in place of pasta. I had never thought about squid in a ragu before then, and I loved the idea of squid as pasta, I have had make squid ragu on my recipe list ever since (a gargantuan dynamic file that I dip in and out all the time). While it may have taken me a few years to action that, I finally did here.
I did not use squid as pasta here, but I did add the squid in two phases as Koffman did. The tentacles and the wings at the side finely chopped first and cooked for half an hour with tomato, chilli and garlic. This base sauce tasted brightly of the sea, so gorgeous, why it had taken me so long to explore this? While the pasta was boiling, I added the remaining squid, chopped into fine rings and cooked only for a few minutes.
This will cheer your spirits. It is soothing to make and completely delicious. Enjoy!
NOTE: You can use a gnocchi ridger to shape these (I bought mine at Sous Chef for just £4), but I have used a butter paddle, a fork, even a comb for these. And I have seen people use sushi mats online also.
- 200g durum semolina flour (semolato di gran duro)
- 100ml tepid water + more as needed (flours vary)
- good pinch of saffron
- pinch of sea salt
- gnocchi ridger, fork or sushi mat to shape the pasta
- 2 squid with tentacles
- 400ml tomato passata
- 2 cloves garlic
- chilli to taste - one fresh, I like to use a teaspoon of Korean gochugaru which is mild and fruity (Aleppo pepper works very well too)
- olive oil for frying
- sea salt and pepper
- Garnish: I have used pea shoots here which I love the flavour of, flat leaf parsley and finely chopped spring onion work very well also
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