Squid Ink Linguine with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Olives and Capers
The title says it all, really. Well, actually, it doesn’t say that the roasting is optional; that you can, in a pinch, use canned tomatoes; that though the squid ink pasta is fun, pretty and adds some maritime undertones, substituting regular pasta will be just as good (and vegan, as this is one of those no cheese please pastas).
Roasting the tomatoes makes for a decidedly sweet sauce, which is then offset by the briny, salty capers and olives. The result is thick and luscious, a perfect pairing with the jet black strands of pasta. The make a striking (but not photogenic) pair.
In the last few weeks, we’ve started serving this for friends and making it on a whim for our dinners for two. We now keep squid ink pasta in the cupboard should the hankering strike. If you’ve never tried squid ink pasta, try this one. Even for someone (like me) who doesn’t eat squid as a rule, squid ink pasta – or pasta al nero di seppia – is at best a pleasant surprise, and, in the worst case scenario, innocuous.
I think one of the best things about this dish is that it’s effortless but doesn’t look it: at best, a glamorous way to impress your guests; and, in the worst case scenario, simply delicious.
SQUID INK PASTA WITH ROASTED CHERRY TOMATOES, OLIVES AND CAPERS
serves 4 – 6
500 grams (1 pound box) squid ink pasta, preferably something long like spaghetti or linguine (substitute normal pasta for a vegan dish)
2 – 4 pints cherry tomatoes, halved (you can substitute a portion of these with canned or plum tomatoes)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 – 3 tablespoons capers
20 – 30 good quality black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
Lay halved cherry tomatoes and garlic on a tinfoil-lined baking tray, sprinkle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. In a 400F/200C oven, roast for about 40 minutes, or until the tomatoes are slightly dried out but not burning.
In a pot on the stove, bring water to boil for the pasta. Salt water then boil pasta until just al dente.
Meanwhile, in a sauce pot, mix the roasted tomatoes, any other tomatoes you’re using, olives and capers and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, to reach desired consistency. Taste the sauce and add salt accordingly. You could also add some chopped parsely if you want.
When sauce is ready and pasta is al dente, add strained pasta to the sauce and a few big glugs of olive oil. Cook everything together for a few minutes. Serve immediately (without cheese).