Since it’s almost Halloween and I was thinking of a recipe that would inspire and give an idea for my mommy friends. I decided on Pasta Negra otherwise called as Spaghetti Negra. As black as the night and your teeth when you eat it. Hahahaha.
I am a fan of our Cavite squid ink pancit also called pansit pusit or pancit negra, or pancit choko en su tinta. It is the pride of Cavite. I wanted to try the original Pancit Pusit recipe and just replace pancit with spaghetti but it has vinegar and I was not sure if it’s going to be okay or I would like the combination.
I checked online and most recipes seem to use either white wine or a bit of lemon so I’m sure there’s also a bit of tang. Mario Batali’s black spaghetti recipe is interesting (because of the Jalapeno Pesto) but I don’t wanna play around with a replacement for Jalapeno peppers today.
So I settled with a really simple pasta negra recipe from Rustan’s Easy as a Pie. I adapted the recipe to use frozen seafood instead and removing some ingredients that my family does not like.
Squid ink pasta originated in Italy around the 15th century, when the peasant population used cheap squid ink as a natural food dye. Over time, the inky noodles gained popularity for their rich umami flavor and velvety texture. I suspect that Paella Negra might be related although Paella Negra is distinctly Spanish in origin. Today, pasta negra evokes the sights and smells of seaside Italy. The depths of black capture our imagination, transporting us to the Mediterranean coast as waves crash in the dark night.
In the recipe, you will notice that I used black ink pasta instead of squid ink. While squid ink adds depth of flavor and visual appeal to pasta negra, preparing it at home can be messy and time-consuming. Thankfully, there are now commercial black pasta options that make cooking pasta negra much easier.
Black ink pasta dyed with natural ingredients like squid ink are now widely available. This ready-made option saves you the hassle of adding fresh squid ink during cooking and risking ink stains on your hands, countertops and pots.
Most black ink pastas are made with durum wheat semolina flour and colored using squid ink extract for a deep black hue. The ink penetrates the pasta dough during production, infusing the noodles with an authentically Italian umami flavor.
When using black ink pasta, all you need to do is cook the noodles according to the package instructions and toss them with your favorite tomato sauce, pesto, or Bolognese. The noodles retain their inky black color throughout cooking and when paired with a light-colored sauce, create a stunning contrast on the plate.
The price of black ink pasta is also comparable to regular pasta, making it an affordable option for weeknight dinners or special occasion meals. So if you’re intrigued by the idea of pasta negra but daunted by the task of adding fresh squid ink, I recommend giving commercial black ink pasta a try.
You’ll spend less time prepping and more time enjoying the rich, deep flavors and lovely appearance of pasta negra at its finest.
So let’s whip up an easy version for your own Halloween feast!
Pasta Negra: Black Spaghetti in Creamy Aligue Sauce
500g Gourmet to Go black ink pasta (available in Rustans Supermarket) (or 500g Ideal Gourmet Squid ink Spaghetti Pasta (Lazada)
4 tablespoons Magnolia Gold Butter
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pack frozen seafood or 500 gms fresh squid (ask the friendly vendor if they can give you extra squid ink sacs, the more you have the better)
1 cup crab paste (Aligue)
½ can Magnolia All-Purpose Cream
1. Cook fresh pasta in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes until it reaches desired doneness. Set aside.
2, Prepare the seafood. If you can, have the vendor clean and prepare the squid for you. They’re experts and can remove the inc sacs without breaking them. If you cant. begin by cleaning your squid. Be very careful and separate the heads with their tentacles, then remove the guts, setting aside the ink sacs (AGAIN: be careful not to break them). Wash the squid well under cold water, dice the bodies, and chop the tentacles. Open the ink sacs and collect the ink in a small bowl.
3. Sauté half of the minced garlic in 2 tablespoons butter over low heat until soft, about 1 minute. Saute frozen seafood and squid, just until translucent, about 1 minute. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Do not overcook seafood as it will become tough and rubbery. Remove from pan.
3. Sauté remaining minced garlic in 2 tablespoons butter over low heat until soft, about 1 minute. Add cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Add squid ink and crab paste and simmer for 1 minute.
4. Remove sauce from heat. Squeeze juice of half a lemon. Season with salt and pepper. Add the spaghetti and mix.
5. Assemble your pasta, top with sauteed seafood, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.