Thursday, 17 July 2014

Tagliarini Neri with Garlic Chilli and Crab

I wonder what the men from the Night's Watch eat for dinner? I hope it's not all boiled intestines and gruel on The Wall. I'd like to think those who protect the Seven Kingdoms get to eat something delicious and appropriately black occasionally. These are the sorts of things that keep me up at night. Save me Jon Snow.

NOTE: I made tagliarini, but you can make any shape pasta that you like. 

Tagliarini Neri with Garlic Chilli and Crab
Serves 4

For the Tagliarini:
2 1/2 cups "00" flour
1/2 teaspoon fine salt (I used Pink Himalaya Salt)
3 eggs
1 tablespoon cuttlefish ink
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

For the Sauce:
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 teaspoons sea salt flakes
1 long red chilli
200g picked crab meat
150g cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Make the Pasta Dough:
Put the flour in the bowl of a food processor with the salt and process for a few seconds to aerate.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, cuttlefish ink and olive oil. Start the food processor running and pour in the liquids through the feed tube. Process for 30 to 40 seconds until a soft dough forms and gathers on the blade. If the dough does not gather and is wet and sticky, process in more flour in small additions. If it is dry and stiff, process in more water, by spoonfuls.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes until it's smooth, soft and stretchy. Press it into a disk, wrap in cling film, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.

Roll and Shape the Dough:
Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Take one piece of dough and lightly flour it. Roll it at progressively narrower settings on a pasta machine until you have a long thin sheet of pasta. I took mine down to the secong narrowest setting. (Keep the other portions of dough covered in cling film to stop them drying out.)

One at a time, put the pasta sheets through the cutting roller of the machine - my machine has two cutting options Tagliatelle and Tagliarnini. Once cut, sprinkle with flour and hang them over a dowel rod, wooden spoon handle, backs of a chair or whatever you have to hand, while you cut the rest of the sheets. When all the sheets are cut, you can cook the pasta in LOTS of boiling salted water. They will only take about 4 - 5 minutes to cook. Drain the pasta well and tip it onto a large serving plate. Spoon the sauce over the pasta, toss gently to coat the pasta and sprinkle with chopped parsely.

Make the Sauce: 
Put the garlic and salt into a mortar and crush to a paste with the pestle. Add the chilli and crush again. Add the tomatoes and bruise them lightly. Add the crab meat, lemon zest and juice and the olive oil. Stir with a spoon.


  1. I loooove making homemade pastas. Yours looks so great on the rack, wow. Your photos are beautiful as usual and I'm curious about the ink!

    1. The ink makes this pasta very special Gabrielle. I'm sure you would love it.

  2. That looks amazing! I've never tried black pasta like that but it sounds tasty. :)

    1. It's really tasty June. One of my favourites.

  3. Beautiful. I've had squid in pasta in a restaurant but never made it.

    1. It's as easy as any other pasta Janette. It doesn't stain your hands or benches either.

  4. Jon Snow save me indeed.... I definitely wouldn't mind making him pasta for dinner (sorry Chris, love you).
    Jen, this dish is absolutely beautiful. I love the inky strands of pasta and the garlic and chilli crab sounds like something my own man of the Night's Watch would love to find on his dinner plate. Once again, I bow down to your greatness :) Shall we call you Mother of Dragons?

    1. Yes. Absolutely. Mother of Dragons is fine with me. (Though my kids might call me the dragon mother sometimes :)

  5. That black pasta looks AMAZING. Seriously, the pigmented, inky blackness elevates this dish to an entirely different level. I haven't tried squid ink pasta but I have heard that it's a bit salty? Is that right? Anyway, I wanna make this as soon as I get reunited with my kitchen. So. Beautiful.

    1. Thanks for taking the time out of your amazing trip to comment Laura. No, the ink does not make this salty, but it does have a distinctive taste of the sea. In my opinion is has a faint taste of sea scallops. It pairs best with other seafood I think. It's utterly delicious in taste and texture.