I’m no marine biologist, but allow me to summarize the squid. There are 300 species of squid, which like their cousins the octopus and cuttlefish, are cephalopods. They have a distinct head, body, 8 arms and two, usually longer, tentacles. Although squid are strong swimmers, we’ve all eaten enough of them to know that they aren’t faster than a fisherman. As food, squid are often referred to by the Italian calamari (plural for calamaro). Squid are found in waters around the world, abundantly in Europe, and on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the US.
While giant and colossal squid can grow upwards of 40 feet in length, we should all avoid them, and stick with the smaller “common” variety, cut into little rings. And like all cephalopods, squid have internal ink sacs, filled with blue-black ink (melanin), which they release to escape predators. In Europe, the ink is often blended into sauces, and in Italy, it is used to give pasta a unique flavor and black color.
Like I said, I’m no marine biologist, but merely an eater and a cook, and as far as I’m concerned, the foregoing is all I want or need to know about squid.
Check out our wine pairings to complement this dish.
Make a mound with the flour, add a pinch of salt. Then make a well in the middle in which to put the eggs. Beat the eggs with a fork and then slowly use the fork to incorporate the flour. Simultaneously, add in the ink. Once the eggs and ink are absorbed, use your hands to knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth. (Of course, you can use a kitchen mixer with a knead attachment to accomplish the foregoing.) Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and set aside in a cool, dry place for 20-30 minutes.
Cut the dough into 4-6 pieces of equal size, but use only one piece at a time (leaving the remaining dough wrapped in plastic). If you are doing this the old fashion way, with a rolling pin, then roll it out, fold it back several times, and continue this process until thin. Alternatively, pass it through a pasta machine until thin (or until it goes through the second thinnest setting at least twice). Fold the pasta in half and then half again and then cut into desired width (about 1/4 inch for tagliatelle) and place on a towel to dry until ready for use.
Peel and clean the shrimp. Set aside. In large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the garlic. When golden, add the tomatoes. Cook until slightly wilted. Add the shrimp and raise the heat. Cook for a few minutes until the shrimp turn pink and most of the liquid has evaporated. (If using frozen shrimp, defrost them prior to adding to the skillet.) Season with salt, black pepper, some of the parsley, and finish cooking for another minute.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, drain it, and add it to the skillet with the shrimp. Toss to mix well over medium heat.
Serve immediately with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
Total time is 30 minutes if using pre-made pasta.