The best pasta is black

You're going to start thinking that I have a squid ink thing (and maybe I do, I'm a marine biologist, after all), but in one of my weak moments as I was wandering around Cost Plus World Market last weekend, I bought a package of Squid Ink Tagliatelle Pasta, made by Mylelia Water Mill of Greece (I did also note they have many delicious-looking recipes on
their website while I was linking this). We followed a recipe on the card enclosed with the package for Squid Ink Black Pasta with Zucchini because we were in a hurry and not sure what would bring out the flavor and tastes in the best way - who better to know such things but those who made it?

It was amazing. We had huge second helpings...and even when it expand
ed in our stomachs making us feel unbelievably full, we were still craving more. Not only did it taste fantastic, but it looked cool too - black pasta isn't something I've ever seen, and the shiny black noodles just jumped out on the white plates we put it on (not to mention I got a little carried away taking pictures of the saffron too).

It tasted like homemade pasta - made using a traditional Greek
recipe with only semolina, durum wheat stoneground in their 250-year-old water mill, eggs, squid ink, olive oil, salt and pepper. Plus, it's air-dried and has the perfect texture after only 3 minutes of cooking.

We used what we had available in the house: yellow summer squash, instead of zucchini, and left out the parsley (we didn't have any). We had also intended on adding some shaved parmesan, but were so excited once it was plated that we forgot all about it.

Here's the recipe:

Squid Ink Black Pasta with Zucchini

6 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3-4 small zucchini, cut into medium sized cubes
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. saffron threads dissolved in 1 tbsp. hot water
4 tbsp. chopped parsley

Saute the garlic and onions in 2-3 tbsp. olive oil gently until soft. Add the zucchini and cook for 1-2 minutes more until just tender and warm. Add the dissolved saffron and parsley, then remove from the heat and stir gently. Cook the pasta according to the directions for 'cooking pasta correctly' on the package (only 3 minutes in boiling salted water). Then drain and give a few quick shakes (never rinse) and place on warmed plates. Sprinkle with more olive oil and spoon the vegetables into the middle of the pasta to leave a vivid contrast between the yellow
and black.

The only trouble I had with it was that even though I used hot water from the sink, the saffron didn't ever dissolve completely - does it normally? Do you need really hot water?

It's awesome. Try it!

The other exciting event from last night were the Trike races.

There's an Irish bar here called McShane's, and on Tuesday nights, they do trike races. Yep, that's tricycle races to those of us who aren't hip to this new sport. It's actually sponsored by Fat Tire - New Belgium Brewing Co. from Fort Collins, Colorado (which has a place in my heart because I did my undergraduate degree at CSU there). They've taken tricycles and souped them up for adults. It's truly hilarious to watch adults knock their knees into the handlebars, race around the bar in circles, crash into walls (you have to sign a waiver before you can race), and try to beat eachother out for Fat Tire gear.

The last Tuesday of every month is the finals: you can win $150 if you beat everyone.

Last night was the night of the Finals, and Loving Boyfriend and a few other friends of ours had qualified to race on earlier Tuesdays this month. But Loving Boyfriend (and I may be in some serious trouble for this one, but it's simply too good to pass up), being the loveable guy that he is,
decided that since we most likely would not be able to win, he was going to go out in style. And sadly, he didn't win. But he sure had everyone at the bar laughing and grabbing for their cameras, so maybe this won't be the only post on the internet?

There he is - My Love, in spandex. Red spandex. An entire suit of it. Complete with a pillowcase cape. My hero. He has never, in three years, ceased to make me laugh.

8 comments from you:

Dawn said...

That is TOO funny! I like Loving Boyfriend already! The trike races sound like they would be hilarious to watch. And my hubby would like it because he likes Fat Tire beer.

I read that saffron powder dissolves a lot faster than the threads...maybe it takes a lot of hot water AND time...?

vlb5757 said...

Who wouldn't love a man with a wicked sense of humor and some really colorful spandex?

Beth - The Zen Foodist said...

I used to buy these butternt squash ravioli from Trader Joe's that were colored on the outside with squid ink, I believe. That's my only experience with the stuff. :)

michelle said...

so-cal foodie,
the trike races are soooo fun. i hear there are other places that do them...maybe the new belgium brewing co. has a website? thanks for the saffron tips - i didn't even realize that there is a powder form of saffron!

hi vickie!
well, i love him, but i don't know if i condone the spandex!

hi beth - burnt squash ravioli? sounds interesting...i'll have to check and see if i can find them at trader joes!

kitchenmage said...

OMG! I was at a government hearing until almost midnight, you have no idea how much I needed that laugh. Kiss the guy for me, he deserrves it.

diva said...

hi there! i was just abt to order some squid ink pasta online and stumbled on this post..thanks for the recipe, looks lovely! hope u dont mind but i'm gonna link ya on my own blog. ;) cheers x

Barzelay said...

Saffron never dissolves. You can grind it into a powder first, if you like, but the threads add a bit of visual interest in the final dish, and make it clear that you used saffron and not a cheaper coloring agent.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea how old this post is, but hey. The internet is always fresh. Saffron threads will never actually dissolve, as the above poster said, but you will also miss out on extracting the max flavor/color if you use water. No doubt you know the science better than I do, but the compounds you're after will dissolve better in acids and fats... you can warm up (not saute) some olive oil and use that, or use vinegar or lemon juice if they're appropriate for the dish.