Squid Ink Pasta

My favorite bite in Venice, perhaps my favorite bite of our entire trip, happened when I ate squid ink pasta with cuttlefish for the first time.

Ever since, I’ve been obsessed with cooking the dish myself. I couldn’t find a satisfactory recipe, so I attempted to recreate it on my own. While it doesn’t have the freshness or the charm of dining al fresco along the Grand Canal, it’s a pretty solid rendition.

Squid Ink Pasta

Ingredients

1 pound spaghetti (we brought back some pasta with squid ink in the dough but regular pasta will work fine)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp salt

2 tsp squid ink (the Alma brand on Amazon works well)

3 cloves garlic

12 oz mussels or shrimp or clams (precooked)

Fresh lemons

Method

Cook pasta in salted water to al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of cooking liquid. In separate pan, heat minced olive oil, pepper flakes, and salt. After the garlic has become fragrant and soft, add the squid ink. Add drained pasta to the oil, watch for splatters. Add precooked seafood. Stir, using the cooking water to incorporate the ink and pasta and oil together. Squeeze fresh lemon over top. Serve with lemon wedges, so people can lemon the dish to their heart’s content.

Enjoy!

Orzo Pasta Salad with Mustard and Honey

Neither god nor man has created a food more perfect pasta. I defy you to find something better.

Endlessly versatile. Comforting. A perfect canvas for sauces and cheeses and veggies and meats. I sing your praises eternal, oh pasta.

And while I enjoy a bowl of homemade spaghetti coated in a thick ragu , I’m just as content with 99 cent cheap-o grocery store noodles with butter and a good parmesan.

Pasta does not discriminate and I refuse to discriminate against it.

There’ll be countless pasta recipes on this site in time, I’m sure, but today’s offering is a fresh, light orzo dish that capitalizes on the last gasps of summer. It’s simple and tasty as a side dish, but holds up well to the addition of grilled chicken or fish, canned tuna, or a large dollop of hummus.

Orzo Pasta Salad with Mustard and Honey

Ingredients:

1 container grape tomatoes

1 English cucumber

1 red onion

1 16 oz package orzo

3/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup scant Dijon Mustard (fill the cup to the top with a good glug of honey)

Salt

Pepper

Dry oregano

Garlic powder

Method:

Bring water to a boil in a large pot and cook orzo according to package directions.

Meanwhile, chop your veggies. I prefer a making a very small dice on the red onion, slicing the cucumber into thin discs, and halving the grape tomatoes. But you do you!

In a large container add the white wine vinegar and whisk in mustard and honey. Season liberally with salt and pepper (about a small palmful of each). Make sure the mustard and honey are incorporated fully. Slowly stream in olive oil, making sure to whisk continuously. Add a small palmful of dry oregano and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Whisk, taste, and adjust seasonings to your preference. You may find you prefer a less vinegary dressing. If so, add a bit more honey or olive oil for balance.

Toss your veggies into the dressing and add more salt and pepper to taste.

When the orzo is done, drain and add to the veggies. Stir, making sure to coat all the pasta and that the veggies are running throughout. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.

Chill for 4-6 hours or overnight. When you’re ready to eat, recheck the seasonings. Time in the fridge and cold temps can reduce the punch of an initial application of salt and other seasonings.

Fuck yeah! It’s time to eat your veggies.