Squid Ink Fettucine with Prawns & Mussels a la Marketman


The concept of “giving up” meat for some days during Lent is still a fairly common practice in many parts of the Philippines. In theory, such a “sacrifice” entails giving up something special and settling for something less palatable. I would argue this point for a cold Diet pasta2Coke, considering that seafood or some vegetables these days probably cost more than pork or other meats, so “abstaining” has a fairly hollow ring to it. Unless you opt to fast with say bread and water, the spirit of giving up something is a bit bizarre if you replace it with some other lavish dish… Having said that, we had an impromptu dinner last Friday and it being a “fish day,” and having only a couple of hours notice without time to market, I prepared this squid ink pasta dish with prawns and mussels in a spicy tomato sauce. Served with a green salad, it was a simple but satisfying dinner. I wouldn’t call it suffering or holding back, however.

Have a pot of water boiling for the squid ink pasta. For the sauce, sauté some onions in olive oil and after a few minutes, add some chopped garlic. Next add a can of whole Italian plum tomatoes, but roughly chopped up and the tough stem ends of the tomatoes pasta3removed. Simmer for a few minutes to reduce. At this point, add the dried squid ink pasta to the water so it will be ready just as your sauce is done. Back to the sauce, add some good tomato paste if you have it. Then add prawns (peeled or not, choice it yours) and mussels and season with salt and pepper. I added some red pepper flakes for some zing. Cook just a few minutes until the prawns and mussels are done. Add chopped flat leaf parsley or basil if you want. You want this to be relatively soupy as the noodles seem to sop it all up… When the noodles are al dente, drain them and add them to the sauce pan and stir briefly to mix all of the ingredients together. Serve hot. There are several strong flavors at work here because of the squid ink pasta, the tomatoes and the seafood, but with the right balance, this almost always tastes great! I added some cherry tomatoes to my dish early in the cooking…but I would nix that move the next time as the sauce got too watery for me and I had to boil it down a bit longer than usual to get the right consistency…

P.S. Here is a similar recipe with the same noodles, just using prawns and pancetta instead…


22 Responses

  1. this photo is making me so hungry!this is a good idea if you have friends over that still adhere to the “no meat” practise over Lent.
    and yes,seafood do cost more than your pork meat specially if you live in landlocked Canberra.

  2. Agree with you on the lenten sacrifice requiring quotation marks around “sacrifice.” It’s on Fridays that we put most thought into what we’ll be having for dinner (i.e. prawns, crabs, mussels, etc).

  3. Your dish has a great appeal to me. I make this intentionally on the soupy side not only the pasta sipped up all the sauce but I love to dunk my garlic bread in it. If I do not have the squid ink pasta, I use the packaged squid ink and regular fettuccine and unpeeled, deveined shrimps for added flavor, mussels and clams. I get the taste of squid without the work involved in cleaning them. I can eat this all year round and any day of the week.

  4. I remember eating squid ink pasta in 4 Seasons restaurant in the old Greenbelt Parking lot years ago. It was yummy. It’s now long gone so I dont know where I could find the same. Here in US, nothing like that. It’s got black pasta and squid and I think balsamic vinegar.

  5. Crumbmaster, actually, the Italians almost never pair dairy with seafood… it seems more of an American thing to do creamy chowders, etc. At any rate, seafood stock would be good but again, the tomatoes combined with juices from shrimp and mussels seems to be sufficient… rampau, I am almost certain there is squid ink pasta at specialty foodstores in the U.S. or through mail order… mojito drinker, last I saw, they had squid ink pasta at Terry’s Selection on Pasong Tamo and probably their sister company at the Basement of Podium Mall in Ortigas…

  6. may i ask if it’s possible to buy bottled squid ink or i would just have to rely on the amount the fresh squids provide? i think i remember reading somewhere that they were able to buy bottled squid ink, if that is actually possible??

  7. i had a dish in a beach resort very similar to what you did, only mine had scallops (really big ones!). true, this dish does not seem like a sacrifice to eat at all. ;) when it was still steaming, i added the butter that came with the bread basket and it made tomato-olive oil sauce even yummier. :) it would be great with a little white wine in the sauce, don’t you think?

  8. This sounds great..I remember a black pasta dish not sure if it was capone’s of tequilla joes

  9. I love this squid ink pastas, it really looks good and gives a nice contrast to seafood and veggies. . . abstaining like this could cost a lot than eating pork chops or bistek and rice. . . hehehe

  10. max, thanks for the link, it’s great! Kaye, yes, you can buy bottled squid ink, I think I have apost on a bottle in my archives… Mandy, the scallops would be a good addition, not just because of taste and texture but color contrast with the black and red. For all, here is a similar recipe but with prawns and pancetta

  11. Looks yummy! What mussels did you use? They don’t look like the regular tahong found in the wet market.

  12. CecileJ, they are green lipped farm raised mussels from New Zealand. Sold frozen and on the half shell. When I can’t find trustworthy local mussels, I get these… pricier, but reliable.

  13. first time i was able to buy squip ink pasta was at the Leonardo Da Vinci airport in italy…i love them so much…when i got back home in the states, i can’t find one in any grocery or italian deli… the ones they’re selling online are very expensive…one time, i was buying some stuff at the Cost Plus World Market, and there, along with other european goodies, squid ink fettucine and spaghetti…i usually use sundried tomatoes because they go well with the strong fish flavor…

  14. zofhia, no, unfortunately, I have never made squid ink pasta from scratch, however, I would imagine it is just a standard pasta recipe, with the addition of several teaspoons of bottled squid ink…

  15. MM, thanks! i’ll try to make some and share the recipe once i discover the correct proportions…



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