Monday, 30 September 2013

London Calling: Cuttlefish Ink Pasta

And now for something completely different….

This is one I tried kind of just for fun. I happened to be in the Loblaws and what did the PC Black Label have? BLACK PASTA. Like, the coolest. It’s infused with cuttlefish ink. PC calls it “Nero di Seppia” because, you know, branding. So obvi I had to buy this to try to make something alarmingly awesome looking.

I was lucky enough to have my long-lost London pal over for dinner, so I decided to do an homage to her town and do something I’d seen Gordon Ramsay do: halibut with roasted tomatoes and pesto. If memory serves, Gordon put it over a parsnip puree (he loves parsnip purees!) but I wanted to use the black pasta.

It took two grocery stores, believe it or not. I went to Farm Boy for my halibut, my basil, my tomatoes, and basically everything except the black pasta. Sorry FB, but Loblaws has you beat on that one!

Also, Farm Boy didn’t have pine nuts. But Loblaws wanted ELEVEN DOLLARS for a tiny tub so I decided my pesto could surely do without!

First step is to turn the oven up high and toss your grape tomatoes in some oil and balsamic and salt and pep. Then roast them a good maybe fifteen minutes.

While that’s happening, get your water to a rolling boil. I found the black pasta took a few minutes longer to cook than regular pasta. Not sure why that is, but just keep an eye on it. For your pesto, throw a whole bunch of basil and maybe half a cup of olive oil in your magic bullet. A bit of minced garlic, some salt and pepper, and pine nuts if you can afford them. After it was blended, I heated it in a sautee pan while the pasta finished.

Put your black noodles on a stark white plate (for effect) and then streak the pesto around the outer perimeter. Don’t just pile it on top of the noodles or you’ll lose the colour. Meanwhile, sear your halibut in olive oil for three minutes a side. Season it with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Place it gently on top of the noodles. When the tomatoes come out of the oven, place them in a scattered pattern around the black noodles.

Use your bitchin’ microplane that your momma got you (if you’re that lucky) to top the dish with fresh parmesan cheese. I served the whole affair with a simple mache salad with lemon zest, black pepper, and vinaigrette. Bloody brilliant, as the Londoners say!

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