Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rick's Spicy Nero di Seppia Spaghetti with Squid

How wonderful to be invited away for a fabulous culinary, cultural and wine tasting weekend in the heart of Niagara's spectacular winemaking region, by our good friend Rick who treated us to his fabulous Spicy Nero di Seppia Spaghetti with Squid before heading out to Stratus Winery for a Bravo Niagara concert featuring celebrated award winning Jazz Trumpeter and Vocalist Jumaane Smith. Best known as the lead trumpeter for international Canadian superstar Michael Bublé, Smith performed to a small audience as he debuted his album 'I Only Have Eyes For You.' Warm and down to earth, Jumaane won over the crowd with his stellar performance of old Jazz standards and new personal compositions. Opening the concert was acclaimed singer, songwriter and 2010 Juno Award winner, Dominic Mancuso who is scheduled to appear again in the upcoming 2016 season of Bravo Niagara — a performance not to be missed — just like Rick's outstanding Spicy Nero di Seppia Spaghetti with Squid!

Jumaane Smith on stage with Robi Botos on piano and Mike Downes on double bass
photo courtesy Bravo Niagara

Jumaane's recent CD "I Only Have Eyes for You'

Calimari marinating in honey, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper

Diced soppresetta cooked until golden, about 2-3 minutes

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

One fiery hot Thai red chili, seeded and finely minced

A colourful selection of grape tomatoes sautéed in a little olive oil until they sizzle and pop, about 3 minutes

The shallots and thai chili are added to the pan and sautéed until tender, about 3 minutes

The squid, tomatoes and pasta sauce ingredients are all combined once cooked and set over low heat while the pasta is cooking

Nero di seppia spaghetti is cooked until al dente

Rick's Spicy Nero di Seppia Spaghetti with Squid
Serves 4

10 oz squid, bodies and tentacles
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 oz thickly sliced soppressata salami, chopped
2 cups grape tomatoes — yellow, red and purple
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 Thai red chili, seeded and finely minced - optional
1/3 cup white wine
2 tbsp chopped capers
10 oz nero di seppia spaghetti
1/2 cup fresh baby basil leaves

Clean the squid and pat dry. Chop the bodies into 1/2-inch dice, leaving the tentacles whole and place in a large bowl. Stir in the honey, garlic, 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper, and allow to marinate at room temperature while preparing the other ingredients.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the remaining oil and soppressata. Cook until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes, and spoon onto a plate. Return the pan to heat and add the tomatoes. Cook for 3 minutes or until they begin to pop and sizzle and the skin becomes soft. Transfer the tomatoes to the plate with soppressata. Return the pan to heat and add the squid. Cook for 1 minute then remove from the pan and reserve on a warm plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots and minced chili to the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes, or until tender. Add the wine and capers to the pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute or until reduced by half, then remove from heat. Return the tomatoes to the pan along with soppressata and squid, and keep warm over very low heat.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, then drain. Add the spaghetti to the skillet over low heat. Toss to combine with the squid mixture, adding enough pasta water to coat the noodles. Stir in the basil and divide between 4 plates. Serve with a little grated pecorino or parmigiano-reggiano if you like.