Of happy endings ... spaghetti aglio olio with squids



This is for those of you who were sitting by the edge of the seat wondering how the spaghetti story ended.

I thawed the squids last evening. Tasted pretty good and well flavoured when cooked. The spaghetti which we boiled more than 24 hours back stayed well in the fridge too. The result was not sticky or dry. Most importantly it was moist just as she wanted.

I made a spaghetti aglio olio...my own recipe based on the odd book I read and Nigella's shows. No cream. Foundation of seafood, garlic and olive oil. If I remember my chat with Chef Max of Penne right, this would be in the cooking tradition of South of Italy versus the colder North which uses a lot of cheese, cream, butter and red meat to stay warm.

Here's how I went about it. Fairly simple.

Prep:
  • Boil 150 g spaghetti, drain water and keep aside. Rinse spaghetti under cold water and add a bit of olive oil to them so that they don't stick. The spaghetti should err on the side of being firm or 'a la dente'. I used regular Indian Bluebird spaghetti. A lot cheaper at Rs 50 a packet than imported ones
  • Take 4 teaspoons of finely chopped garlic, 3,4 finely chopped green chillies, 2,3 finely chopped fresh red chillies and crush them. I used my new mortar and pestle. Else a gently whirl of a mixer will do
Cook:.

  • Heat about 3,4 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan
  • Add the garlic and chili mix. Stir till the garlic turns a bit darker and till kitchen is filled with the aroma of garlic and the sting of chillies (max of a minute)
  • Add in a tablespoon each of finely chopped tomatoes and onions. Stir till the onions soften a bit
  • Add 500 g squids (Rs 150 a kg at Poonam's at Khar Market). Cut into rings
  • Toss till the squids turn cream in colour from their original white
  • Add spaghetti, salt and stir. Should be done in a couple of minutes
  • Add some olive oil at the end before turning off the flame so that it is not dry
  • Add about two tablespoons of chopped parsley and stir the spaghetti with a fork so that the parsley and condiments spread evenly through the pasta.
  • I grated some Parmesan Reggiano which I had picked up from Sante (Rs 150 odd for 100 g) sparingly at the top when I plated the pasta. Added a nice, sharp zest to the dish
I loved the way the flavour of the squid had spread into the spaghetti. The way the heat of the chilli was omnipresent in the background.And most importantly, the way it wasn't sticky or dry.

K who dislikes spaghetti and non creamy pastas seemed to approve too.

This is one story that ended well.



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