This is one of the best meals I’ve eaten in quite some time. Dish it up sell some spectacular pasta at the Capital Region Farmers Market in Canberra. As soon as I realised Sue made squid ink spaghetti I told her I had to have some! I planned on serving it with squid, but these baby octopus were very appealing so I used those instead. You could use either if you wanted.
I wanted to highlight the contrasting colours of the octopus and the pasta in this dish. If I made a creamy or slow cooked sauce it would hide the striking colour of the spaghetti on the plate, so I’d been aiming low key, thinking about lemon and tomato. I saw a punnet of beautiful mini roma tomatoes on the vine and was sold immediately. I charred the tomatoes under the grill and served them whole atop the pasta, the idea being that you squidge the tomatoes on your plate, releasing their sweet juices into your pasta. You also get the added colour contrast. This was one of the most beautiful, fun and tasty meals I’ve had in a long time.
|60||grams||mini Roma tomatoes on the vine|
|90||grams||squid ink spaghetti|
|1||lemon, zest only|
|1/2||teaspoon||lemon infused olive oil|
Arrange the tomatoes on a piece of foil on the tray for your griller. Turn the grill onto high and grill the tomatoes till they just char. This will probably take as long as it takes to prepare the rest of the dish.
Cut the hoods off the baby octopus, remove the beaks or any undesirable parts and cut the tentacles into pairs. Remove the skin from the hood, discarding the skin and any other undesirables. Using a sharp knife, very gently score a crosshatch pattern into the hood of the octopus. Set aside.
Fill a saucepan of water to the boil and add the salt. You want the water to taste as salty as the sea. Bring the water to the boil, add the spaghetti and cook till al dente.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small frying pan. When it’s bubbling, add the octopus tentacles. Grate the zest of the lemon into the pan. Slice the chilli and add it to the pan. Stir the tentacles, flipping them over so they cook on both sides. After a minute or two, add the hoods and cook till they just become translucent.
Drain the pasta and mix through the sauce. Arrange pasta on the plate and reduce the sauce before tipping it onto the pasta.
The tomatoes should be charred on top. Arrange them atop the pasta and drizzle with lemon infused olive oil.
Serve immediately and enjoy.