When I was living in Boston several years ago, I would walk up and down North End, a neighborhood filled with Italian restaurants and bakeries. I was a poor college student at the time and couldn’t afford to try all of the restaurants or dishes I wanted to, including squid ink pasta. I’ve always been curious about squid ink pasta and now, years and years later, I finally convinced myself to make a fresh batch. Now that I have a bit more money than the college days, I splurged and dressed the pasta with a lobster and sea urchin sauce and topped it off with fresh steamed lobster, a gourmet meal at its best!
Squid Ink Pasta with Lobster and Sea Urchin
2 hrTotal Time
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp squid ink
2 lb lobster
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tbsp tomato paste
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 small bouquet garni: thyme, parsley stems, tarragon, and a bay leaf
1 lemon, cut in half
2 cups water
Sea Urchin sauce
8 ounces fresh sea urchin
4 tbsp butter, softened
1 thai chile, sliced
1 cup lobster broth
salt and pepper
1 cup snow peas
Make the pasta by measuring 3 cups flour and pour onto the counter top. Shape flour into a circle, making a well in the center. Carefully crack eggs into the center of the well. Squeeze squid ink into the center of the well. Using a fork, beat the eggs until smooth. Slowly whisk in the flour to the egg and squid ink mixture, making sure the flour is absorbed before adding more. Continue to whisk in the flour until dough comes together. Knead the dough with your hands, adding only enough flour to make a smooth dough; you will have extra flour. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the lobster. Steam whole lobster for 20 minutes. Remove lobster from the steamer, reserving the juices from the lobster. Place in an ice bath. When lobster is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the shell, reserving the shells. Set lobster meat aside.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a medium sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic; cook until softened about 6-7 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the white wine and deglaze the pan. Reduce the wine until there is almost no liquid left. Add the bouquet garni, lemon, water, reserved lobster juices, and lobster shell. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to simmer until there is 1 cup of liquid left, about 25 minutes.
Strain lobster broth, discarding the solids. Set broth aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the snow peas and blanch until cooked but still crunchy, about 2-3 minutes. Drain snow peas, rinse in cold water and dunk in an ice bath. Drain snow peas and julienne. Set aside.
Return to the pasta. Cut the dough into quarters. Dust rolling pin and work counter with flour. Roll out one portion at a time, covering the remaining portions to prevent from drying. Fold over the rolled out dough several times and cut into desired thickness. Repeat with the remaining dough portions.
Place sea urchin, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor, pureeing until smooth. Strain sea urchin mixture. Bring 1 cup of lobster broth to a boil. Add the sea urchin puree, reduce heat to low, and whisk until smooth. Do not boil the sauce. If the sauce becomes too thick, add the pasta water. Season with salt and pepper.
While the sauce is cooking, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the squid ink noodles and cook until al dente. Remove from heat and toss in the sauce with the reserved lobster meat and julienne snow peas. Portion into 4 bowls and serve immediately.
I actually still remember dissecting a squid in my 7th-grade science class and accidentally popping the ink sack. Unless you are planning to extract your own ink, order yours online.
Squid ink has a salty element and is most commonly found in Italian and Spanish dishes. It is more often used as a condiment since an excess of the ink can give an iodine taste to the food. Store the squid ink at room temperature for longer shelf life.The procedure for making squid ink pasta is the same for making regular pasta except for the addition of the squid ink. Carefully whisk the eggs, slowly incorporating the flour little by little. You want to keep the mixture in the well until it can be handled with your hands A small amount of squid ink can quickly darken whatever item you are using it for, in this case, pasta. After the dough has chilled and rested, roll out the pasta. If you have a pasta machine, I highly recommend you use it. Rolling the pasta by hand can be difficult since the dough is slightly elastic. You want to make the dough paper-thin to avoid gummy noodles. I cut my pasta slightly wider but you can choose to cut them into thinner noodles.As for the lobster broth and sauce, you are going to use every piece of the lobster to create the most flavorful broth. I purchased a 3 1/2 lb lobster just because I got greedy but a 2 lb lobster will be adequate for 4 servings. Reserve the juices that come out of the lobster as it steams, straining the juices before adding it to the broth. I had some shrimp shells from another dish I prepared so I added them to the stock. This, of course, is optional since the lobster shell will already give great flavor to the broth.To complete the sauce, you are going to incorporate fresh sea urchin. Sea urchin has a short shelf life so purchase the item on the day of. Since sea urchin is fatty, it will give a buttery, smooth finish to the pasta sauce.My first impression was that the pasta sauce was going to be heavy, but it was actually quite light. The lobster broth was so flavorful while the uni puree rounded out the sauce. As for the noodles, they had the right amount of chew with just a slightly salty bite. I almost felt as if I was dining at a fine dining restaurant while having the dish; very well-balanced and beautiful to look at. Squid ink pasta – check!
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