As much as I have professed my undying love for the autumn season, its signature holiday has never been a favorite of mine. I’m very against being scared, do not particularly like dark-spirited things, and skulls I cannot do. However, when we had squid-ink pasta for the first time this summer I instantly knew it was the ideal grown-up Halloween night dinner. Halloween falls on a Monday this year making it the perfect opportunity to whip this dish up as you answer the door for the darling trick-or-treaters. Infusing spaghetti with squid ink lends the noodles a subtly salty flavor that’s difficult to detect but much more importantly the squid ink gives the past its signature, stunning color. By tossing the spaghetti with sautéed shrimp, fresh tomato and the slight crunch of sweet corn and adding just a bit of butter and a drizzle of olive oil, this dish comes together in bright, delicious harmony.
P.S. If you are in the Olympia area, you can find squid ink pasta at Hagen on the west side and I’ve found it at Whole Foods and New Seasons as well if you are in the PDX area. You can also buy it on Amazon – this pasta is my favorite and what I used for this recipe.
- 20 Ounces Shrimp
- 12 Ounces Squid Ink Spaghetti
- 6 Cloves Garlic
- 2 Ear Of Corn or 1 Package Frozen Corn
- 3 Roma Tomatoes
- 1 Bunch Mint
- 4 Tablespoons Butter
- ¼ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)
- Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Remove and discard the husk and silk of the corn. Cut the corn kernels off the cob; discard the cob. Core and small dice the tomatoes. Pick the mint leaves off the stems; discard the stems.
- Add the spaghetti to the pot of boiling water and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain.
- While the spaghetti cooks, pat the shrimp dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper. In a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned shrimp in a single, even layer and cook 3 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, and set aside in a warm place.
- While the spaghetti continues to cook, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan of reserved fond; heat on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic and corn; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Add the tomato and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the tomato has softened. Add half the mint (finely chopping just before adding) and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined.
- Add the butter, cooked spaghetti, browned shrimp and half the reserved pasta cooking water to the pan of vegetables; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring vigorously to coat the spaghetti, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and the shrimp are cooked through. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the finished spaghetti between 2 dishes. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with the remaining mint (finely chopping just before adding). Enjoy!