Squid Ink has a lot of nutrients, fantastic flavor and a sexy dark aura. Pair it with my “meet you in the schoolyard”, tough-guy pesto and you have a robust filling dinner that is as glorious as it is glamorous. Like many pastas, this is a quick meal that would fit the 20 min-prep weekday timeframe but deserves a long, luxurious, heady red wine drinking Friday evening.
Planning leftovers on Saturday in bed, curled up, is a prerequisite. Deal? Deal.
You Will Need:
- Squid Ink Pasta (can be found at most specialty stores, online or like us, we found ours at a local neighborhood spice shop – really isn’t hard to find, may be at your grocery store BUT, if you can’t find squid ink pasta you can use any other pasta so long as it’s a bit thicker like a fettuccine or pappardelle)
- Ground Beef (or turkey – omit if you’d like)
- Kale (baby kale or standard – I get mine organic and freeze whenever not using so it lasts longer – you will want a decent sized bag as you’ll use it for the pesto as well)
- Pistachios (shelled and lightly salted – if not salted, regular is fine)
- Ricotta (optional)
- Parmesan (grated / shredded)
- Olive Oil
- Dried Basil (I recommend dried as it can be repurposed easily)
- Sea Salt
Here is a close-up of the pasta incase it’s helpful:
Take out a large pan / pot and drop some oil in to start cooking the meat (if you chose to add that). Take handfuls of kale and throw that in the pot. Stir and let cook down. Add some salt (and pepper if you’d like).
To blend your pesto, take at least two handfuls of kale (add more if your blender / food processor is larger than mine – I have the mini Cuisinart 4 cup food processor) and then add two handfuls of pistachios. Two handfuls of parmesan cheese and glugs of olive oil (I do a four count). Lastly, add your basil. I do about two tablespoons. Remember to measure accordingly to the people you’re serving and, if the machine struggles and you want to thin out the pesto add more oil. You will also be adding some pasta water later so keep that in mind.
Always remember to taste your pesto and see if you want to play around with the seasonings a bit.
Take your squid ink pasta and cook in some boiling water till al dente (timing may differ based on the type of pasta noodle).
Before you strain, scoop out at least cup, to two cups of pasta water and set that aside. Put the now strained noodles back in their pot or, if the ground beef and kale pan / pot is large enough add it to that.
Mix the kale and ground beef in with the noodles.
Top with your pesto and stir. If too thick, add some of your pasta water; the starch will help thin out the pasta sauce. If you’d prefer (or you can do this in conjunction with the pasta water) you can add more olive oil. Here’s where if you did opt to get ricotta, you can stir that in and make this even more creamy and decadent. I would use about a tablespoon per serving for measurement to stir into the pot.
Plating is fun with pasta… I love to have the swirled noodles form into a nest in the middle of a big bowl.
This is easy to do: Take a large soup ladle and a large serving fork. Grab the pasta with the fork in your dominant hand and swirl it into the ladle in your other hand until all the noodles have tucked themselves into the ladle. Then, lay the ladle gently onto your plate / bowl and slide the noodles out. They will retain their shape.
If you want to add some additional parmesan on top it’s always welcomed!
This pesto works so well against this flavor noodle. Squid Ink has a bit of a saltier taste to it and it requires something really strong to hold it up.
You could swap the ground beef for scallops, shrimp or salmon.
The leftovers were even better – if you end up having any!