Squid Ink Pasta and the Man Behind it All

Here and there I’ve mentioned something about the man who cooks many of the dishes on these pages, but maybe I don’t credit him enough: my husband, Marco. Anyone who knows him is always surprised to hear that when we met he had never cooked a thing before in his life. Now, we argue over who gets to have more bench space in the kitchen.

Born in San Miniato, a hilltop town between Pisa and Florence, surrounded by vineyards and forested hills that hold the secrets of white truffles, Marco’s passion for food and wine led him to become a sommelier (and also led us on many fantastic trips and experiences such as my first wine harvest). He also makes a mean cocktail and worked in places like the bar of Florence’s Four Seasons hotel, inventing some gorgeous drinks such as the Breakfast Martini (English breakfast tea, vodka and sake). He has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and is always up for cooking something new or experimenting with a dish, something I utterly love about him.

I have to give him complete credit for the tagliolini al limone recipe (our go-to dish when we have to whip up something fast and tasty) and the raspberry acetosa mojito, a finalist for Best Poolside Cocktail at Food52. He loves baking bread and making pasta from scratch but the one thing that he leaves almost entirely to me is dessert – he says it’s not his thing but he does make a beautiful biancomangiare.


We have always loved travelling together, photographing, eating and drinking our way through Marrakech, Puglia, Tokyo, Malta, Piemonte and wherever else we end up. In our free time, we’re thinking up excuses to invite people over to cook for. Does that make us food nerds? I’ve learned so much from him, I just couldn’t imagine a better person to share this passion and this life with so I think it’s about time I dedicated at least one post to him. What better than a fresh pasta dish made by the man himself?

Squid Ink Pasta

We turned this squid ink pasta into paper-thin ravioli, filled with Balmain bugs (slipper lobster) and prawns. We also made enough pasta to make tagliatelle, which Marco dressed with the same lemony recipe as his favourite tagliolini al limone.

For 4 people:

  • 400 grams of flour
  • 4 small eggs
  • 8 grams of squid ink (available from Italian delicatessens)

Sift the flour out onto a large, clean surface to make a ‘pyramid’ and then, with your hand, make a well in the centre of it. Crack your eggs into the well and with a fork, begin first by beating the eggs, then slowly incorporate the flour, little by little, until the mixture becomes creamy. Eventually you will reach a point where the mixture thickens so that you can no longer use the fork. Now it’s time to get your hands dirty!

Incorporate the rest of the flour or as much as you need until it is no longer sticky. At this point, knead the dough for about 5 minutes or until it is elastic (poke it, it should bounce back), then wrap it in plastic wrap, or put an up-turned bowl over it and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Dust a clean, flat surface such as your kitchen bench with flour. Roll out the dough (you may need to do cut it in half and do sections separately) and when it is thin enough to put it through a pasta machine, roll out and repeat until it is thin enough to see your fingers through it when you hold it up to the light (no. 7 on most pasta machines). If you are rolling by hand, which is more difficult due to the elasticity, roll from the centre out, until the pasta is thin enough to see your fingers through the other side.

Cut into desired shapes (for tagliatelle, dust the sheets of pasta with flour, roll it up and chop 1cm long noodles) and cook in a large pot of plenty of boiling, salted water for about 2 minutes.

Cooking with fresh pasta is slightly different from cooking with dry pasta. Remove the pasta from the water with tongs (as opposed to draining it, as a little more water clinging to the pasta will benefit the taste and texture) and place in a skillet where your warm sauce is waiting, then toss and serve immediately. Make sure your guests are ready to eat and are sitting at the table when you throw the pasta in the pot – fresh pasta waits for no one!

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Comments

24 Responses to “Squid Ink Pasta and the Man Behind it All”
  1. This looks delicious Emiko and Marco!
    I can see you in the kitchen together, so sweet. I’m teaching Bruno to cook so hopefully we will be experimenting together soon!
    All the best for 2012
    x

  2. Egle says:

    Oh, Emiko, it seems that you have a real treasure at home, that is Marco. I’ve been reading your posts for more than a year now and you two seem to get along great! I love everything about you guys: photos, writing style, recipes and atmosphere you create here, on the web.

    Thanks for being out there! And please don’t quit doing what you do. I promise to be a nerdy passionate reader (and eater). By the way, this pasta DOES look great. I think I still have a packet of squid ink spaghetti I brought from Florence this (last) summer. Probably not as good as fresh one that you guys are making. But still.

  3. Rosa says:

    Gorgeous pasta and wonderful photography!

    Those ravioli must be divine.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. Valeria says:

    I melt for love stories like yours. I feel so connected. You know why :) Cheers to you both! And pass alonf some squid ink ravioli :)

  5. Giulia says:

    you – Emiko and Marco – are one of the most beautiful and fun copules I know, maybe because food is so connected to your being! Miss you two, and our lunches and dinners together!

  6. Really nice, I always have been a few afraid of use calamari ink, but after your great picture i will try. I just made a Argentinian Pasta Special and I feel very confident now cooking fresh pasta. Thanks

  7. Sarah says:

    So gorgeous. I love squid ink pasta but have never attempted it at home. Looks like I have a new resolution for the year.

  8. The pasta is strikingly beautiful, both in color and texture. I cherish time spent in the kitchen with my husband, cooking side by side. Half the pleasure in food is having someone to share it with.

  9. How wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing this on your lovely blog.

  10. Thelittleloaf says:

    This looks incredible! One of my favourite things in the world is cooking with my boyfriend & thinking of recipes to cook together.

    I made squid ink bread recently and am really keen to try pasta now-the combination of black pasta & sweet prawns sounds incredible.

    • Emiko says:

      Wow, squid ink bread sound amazing, will have to try that! Cooking with other people and/or for other people is one of the best things in the world if you ask me!

  11. marjee says:

    I’ve had a pasta machine for years… and it’s just sat in the box, waiting for me to get my act together… This post has given me a good push in the right direction!

  12. Anna says:

    this is a lovely website and recipe … i ll attempt to make the the squid ink pasta … but i need your input and suggestions as to what is the best sauce recipe to serve with squid ink pasta?

  13. Sally Ann Baker says:

    May I give a ‘plug’ for one of my favourite places to eat: “Squid Ink” in Looe, Cornwall? Small but perfect!

  14. This is the most gorgeous pasta in casa I have seen in a long time… I would love to share this squid ink pasta post as a link on my new food blog noted above.

    My husband and I are both second generation Italian and have an identical passion for food, family and travel as you and your husband, Marco.

    I will be sharing many of my famiglia’s recipes and traditions as well as food and drinks we adore from all over the world.

    Thanks for having such a beautiful food and recipe blog, I will be dding you to my favorite blog list on my site as well :)

    grazie tante e ciao per addesso,

    Annette L. Venditti

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