The other night I went out with my girlfriends to Nell's for the Seattle Restaurant Week menu. While the desserts could have been a bit better, there was really nothing else to complain. The food was fantastic with healthy portions and attentive service. I had Waldorf Salad made with celeriac, diced apples, and arugula, which I intended to replicate at home! The steak was cooked perfectly, still red in the middle, with good salty crispy crust. The waiter also recommended a terrific wine to go with our dinner.
During the dinner, we talked about our kids, jobs, but food alway found its way to our conversation, mostly about our recent restaurant visits. My friend, Barbara, talked fondly about the Black Ink Macaroni she had at Salare and wondered how the "broth" was made. I didn't have that dish when I went there so I was certainly very perplexed and curious.
When I got home, I went on the web to search on the restaurant website but didn't find much information there. There were clams, squids, sea beams, and sauce diavolo. I know diavolo sauce, a spicy tomato-based sauce for pasta and seafood. But it's not brothy! I tried to find images on the internet to give me some more clues about the "broth" but nothing turned up. My investigation went nowhere :(
I decided to make this dish for dinner anyway with whatever I had. I made the sauce in the morning with garlic, chopped onions, tomato paste, white wine, and chopped canned tomatoes. The sauce was flavored with white wine vinegar, cayenne peppers, and salt, with a dash of maple syrup to cut the acidity and to balance with the heat. I din't find enough oomph in the sauce, so I added some Colatura (Italian anchovy sauce) to the sauce. The pasta would have to be made after work!
I dug out my Kitchen Aid pasta extruder which I received from my husband as a Christmas gift, that I haven't used for a while. The texture of the pasta has to be perfect for the extruder to work well, too soft, the dough will stick, but if too hard, it will not extrude. To make the dough, I measured 392 grams of flour and 7/8 cup of the combination of squid ink and eggs. I incorporated as much flour to make a stiff but pliable dough, then kneaded it a couple times and zapped in a vacuum bag to speed up the process of the flour absorbing the eggs. Instantly the dough was ready to be extruded into big macaroni! I cooked the pasta in salted water. There was no salt in the pasta dough so it was very important to salt the water well, otherwise the pasta would be bland and the dish could not be seasoned properly!
While the pasta was cooking, I diced up guanciale and cooked it on medium heat until crispy. I removed the crispy porky bits from the pan and then seared bay scallops. These were small and took practically no time to cook. Once they were opaque, I removed them from the pan and added the diavolo sauce I made in the morning to reheat. I added the cooked pasta to the sauce and continued to cook a few minutes for the noodle to absorb the sauce. Some pasta cooking water was added to dilute the sauce. You want the sauce to be thick enough to coat the pasta but not too thick. Finally I folded in the scallops, some parmesan cheese, and topped it with a drizzle of olive oil and the crispy guanciale.
Dinner is served! I will never know what Salare's squid ink macaroni was like because it's now off the menu. Darn!!!!
Barb, it's not Salare's squid ink pasta but this "surf and turf" pasta dish is pretty damn good!