Squid and Fennel Pasta with Lemon and Herbs
This squid pasta with fennel recipe is made for breezy summer evenings. All that's missing is the beach house.
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound squid (bodies and tentacles), bodies sliced ¼ inch thick
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced lengthwise, plus 2 tablespoons fronds
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ lemon, seeds removed, very thinly sliced, divided
- 12 ounces linguine or fettuccine
- ½ cup parsley leaves with tender stems
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over high. Working in 2 batches, season squid with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until cooked through, about 3 minutes (don’t overcook or it’ll get rubbery). Transfer to a small bowl.
Reduce heat to medium-high and heat 2 Tbsp. oil in skillet (no need to wipe out). Add fennel slices, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and soft, 10–12 minutes (some nicely browned bits should be stuck to skillet). Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and half of lemon slices; cook, tossing occasionally, until garlic and lemon are soft, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 ½ cups pasta cooking liquid.
Add pasta to skillet along with 1 cup cooking liquid. Toss, scraping up any browned bits; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing and adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta, about 3 minutes. Add squid and give it all another toss to combine.
Toss parsley, fennel fronds, remaining lemon slices, and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Serve pasta topped with salad.
Greek Squid with Orzo Pasta
On my wanderings around the Farmers Market, I have come across some beautiful cleaned small squid still complete with tentacles. It looks too good to ignore so into my basket it goes.
My experience of cooking squid is a little limited – mostly cutting it into rings, coating in cornflour and salt and pepper and quickly shallow frying. Very tasty and quick but I know there is more to squid than this and, having committed to my squid purchase, I begin to trawl through my cookbooks for some alternative squid sensation.
The trouble with squid is that it can be an amazing tasty morsel or be the equivalent to chewing on a thick rubber band! It has to be either cooked very quickly or very slowly – there is no middle ground. I know the quick cook methods but think I’ll try a slow cook recipe. I find a number of stuffed squid recipes and seafood stews but settle on a dish of squid and orzo pasta by Nigella which I decide to adapt a little to suit the ingredients I have to hand. I must also admit to being more than a little influenced into this recipe by the fennel I have ready to harvest from the veggie patch and the dill in my herb garden. I think dill is one of my favourite herbs at the moment and I’m finding any excuse to use it!
Greek Squid with Orzo Pasta
600gm cleaned Squid left whole
1/2 to 1 bulb of Fennel (depending on size), cut into chunks
1 small Red Onion, peeled, halved and cut into half moons
2 large cloves of Garlic, smashed and peeled
60ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
400gm can Diced Tomatoes
100gm bunch of Dill, chopped
1 cup of recently boiled Water
Salt & Pepper to taste
You will need a casserole that you can use on the stove top and then put into the oven. Preheat the oven to 160 deg C.
Put the olive oil into the casserole on a low heat and add the onion, fennel, garlic and whole squid. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Quite a bit of liquid wil come out of the squid. Add the orzo pasta and the can of tomatoes and then put the tomato paste into the empty can and fill it with water and mix together and then add to the casserole. Turn up the heat and when it is bubbling away, put the lid on and pop it into the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
At the end of the cooking time the orzo will have swollen and absorbed all the liquid. Add the cup of boiled water, stirring and scraping up any bits on the bottom and sides of the casserole. Add the salt and pepper to taste and most of the chopped dill, reserving some to sprinkle on top before serving. Put back in the oven for about 5 – 10 minutes with the lid off.
Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the remaining dill and serve. This will feed 4 hungry people as they will definitely go back for seconds!
I served this with a simple green salad. This is not the most attractive dish you will ever serve but the squid is so meltingly tender and the whole dish so wonderfully delectable it really doesn’t matter.
Our Favorite Seafood Pasta Recipes Keep It Light
This isn’t farewell to bolognese and sausage, it’s just “see you later!” Tonight, lighten up your dinner with some fresh seafood pasta recipes featuring incredible olive oil, chili peppers, citrus, fresh herbs and lots of veggies. Pick up a bag of mussels, a big hunk of bottarga or a mess of fresh squid and toss away.
Recipe: Pasta With Crispy Squid And Lemon
This is sort of an all-star pasta dish for me. It’s got all the hits: crispy squid, caramelized lemons, and lots of fresh chili. The key here is to give the squid the space and time it needs to brown properly. This means working in batches, being patient, and letting it do its thing in the skillet. You’ll notice that despite being patted dry beforehand, squid has quite a bit of liquid in it, which tends to come out while cooking. This is okay, and while it looks like maybe your squid is simmering rather than sautéing, the liquid will evaporate and the squid will brown, and there will be dark, crispy bits on the bottom of the skillet. Those bits are what you came here for. When scraped up with a bit of pasta water, simmering along with those fresh chiles and caramelized lemon slices, they are what make this whole thing so damn delicious, creating a sauce to coat every piece of pasta, inspiring you to shout, “Squid! I finally get it!”
This light, fresh rigatoni with shellfish and chives makes for an ideal warm weather dinner.
Recipe: Rigatoni With Prawns And Mussels
Pasta dishes have been a big part of Catalan cuisine since the seventeenth century, and some of the old recipes are still really well known today, such as cannelloni or the Fideuà or Sopa de galets, which is typically served at Christmas. Galets are big pasta shells, and the soup has meatballs in it as well. I tried something similar to this recipe at a restaurant in the old shipyard area of Barceloneta. The restaurant is called Suquet de l’Almirall – it’s so worth heading down there to try it. That, and the paella Denominación Origen (D.O.) Barcelonetta.
Succulent pieces of lump crab swim in a subtly spiced tomato sauce for a pasta preparation you’ll make again and again.
Recipe: Crab Fra Diavolo
As boys, my uncles Michael and John often went crabbing in Barnegat Bay off the coast of New Jersey with their cousins. They’d bring back the day’s catch to my great-aunt Mary’s house, where she would make a marinara sauce, throw in the cleaned crabs, and then serve them straight from the pot with either pasta or bread. This recipe is inspired by their memories even with shelled crab for ease and hot pepper for kick, the sentiment is the same.
This savory pasta with swordfish is what you need to make for dinner.
Recipe: Paccheri Pasta With Swordfish, Olives, Capers And Mint
People often think of swordfish as a strong-flavored fish, but I think that’s more about its texture, which is meaty and dense. The flesh is actually sweet and mild. And for this dish, swordfish’s density is an advantage, allowing for lovely, resilient chunks that can stand up to the al dente pasta. Their size and texture goes well with the pasta called paccheri (in Italian it means “a slap in the mouth”) — the bits of fish nestle nicely inside the wide openings of the pasta — but you can also use rigatoni or any other large tubular shape. The pungency of chili flakes, mint and fennel seeds make a nice contrast to the gentle saline flavor of the fish.
Recipe: Lobster Gnocchi, The Ultimate Summer Pasta
We met Jeff Landry back when he was the chef and owner of the Farmer’s Table, a restaurant on Commercial Street in Portland serving locally sourced food. Since then, Landry has taken his expertise from the kitchen direct to the farmers and fishermen themselves, working to distribute their goods to other like-minded restaurants and to convert those restaurants that still import food unnecessarily. Gnocchi is Landry’s favorite lobster dish, and he recommends starting a day ahead of time, as the gnocchi actually turn out best if you make them, freeze them, then cook them from the frozen state.
You’ve never had a bowl of Japanese noodles quite like wafu pasta.
Recipe: Japanese Carbonara
Believe it or not, there is a whole world of Japanese pasta dishes, collectively known as wafu (Japanese-style) pasta. Almost invariably based on spaghetti (which is not so different from ramen, in a way), Japanese pasta often resembles traditional Italian or Italian-American pasta dishes, but with innovative touches based on indigenous Japanese flavors. A classic example is mentaiko pasta, which uses pollock roe cured with chilli to flavor a buttery sauce – the flavor of mentaiko is kind of like a combination of Italian bottarga and chilli, so it makes sense.
Let’s talk about this lemony, buttery, shellfishtastic pasta dish (and then let’s cook it!)
Recipe: Mafaldini Scampi
“The malfadini s campi is my reimagined take on the classic iteration of the Italian dish,” says PJ Calapa, chef/owner of NYC’s Scampi. Calapa’s mastery of the dish left us speechless, and eager for more.
A dish so simple, you’ll want to make it again and again.
Recipe: Linguine con Vongole
Linguine con vongole is one of those rare Italian pasta dishes whose simplicity outweighs the lack of cream, heavy cuts of pork or need for obscure-sounding artisan pastas. Owing to the shellfish and fresh herbs, this linguine is light, delicious and satisfying in any season. It’s great to make for a quick weeknight dinner or hungry crowd in a pinch. Feel free to add more red pepper flakes for a spicier kick.
Fish Dish: Pasta With Crispy Squid And Lemon
We’re big fans of Alison Roman’s latest collection of recipes, an ode to dining in with emphasis on big flavors (and small commitments). Pick up a copy and rejuvenate your home cooking game from every angle. This pasta with crispy squid is the heart bowl of seafood pasta you’ve been craving.
This is sort of an all-star pasta dish for me. It’s got all the hits: crispy squid, caramelized lemons, and lots of fresh chile. The key here is to give the squid the space and time it needs to brown properly. This means working in batches, being patient, and letting it do its thing in the skillet. You’ll notice that despite being patted dry beforehand, squid has quite a bit of liquid in it, which tends to come out while cooking. This is okay, and while it looks like maybe your squid is simmering rather than sautéing, the liquid will evaporate and the squid will brown, and there will be dark, crispy bits on the bottom of the skillet. Those bits are what you came here for. When scraped up with a bit of pasta water, simmering along with those fresh chiles and caramelized lemon slices, they are what make this whole thing so damn delicious, creating a sauce to coat every piece of pasta, inspiring you to shout, “Squid! I finally get it!”
NOTE: When you’re buying squid, there is no shame in purchasing the frozen kind most of the stuff you find at the grocery store is previously frozen and then thawed anyway. Just make sure you get a nice mix of tentacles and bodies to vary the textures.
The boy who ate the world
This week’s lockdown recipe series is all about Nduja – Calabria’s spicy, spreadable pork salume and one of my ultimate favourite ingredients to have on standby in the fridge! Its deep savoury flavour and fiery spice adds a whole new dimension to dishes. My favourite way to cook with it is to mix & melt it through pasta sauces. Balance out Nduja’s bold flavour with creamy, mild mascarpone cheese. Pair it with the sweetness of a classic tomato & basil sauce. Or combine it with Romesco sauce to give it some added umami, spice and depth of flavour.
Here are 3 ideas for pasta sauces with Nduja! Use whatever pasta you like with the sauces. I find a longer pasta such as Spaghetti or Linguine works better with the Mascarpone sauce and Tomato Fennel Sausage Ragu. Conversely, I’d go for a short pasta with the Romesco Squid recipe. If you can’t get a hold of Nduja, substitute with Spanish Sobrassada which has a similar flavour profile and spreadable texture.
Nduja, Mascarpone & Lemon Pasta
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 250g dried pasta of choice
- 150g leafy vegetables of choice, roughly sliced (cabbage, spring greens, Cavolo Nero)
- 125g Mascarpone cheese
- 80g Nduja
- 1 tbsp light olive oil
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 2 tsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp sugar
- Juice and zest ½ of lemon
- Salt to taste
- Optional: 100ml white wine (or 100ml water)
- Optional: 80g Pancetta or Guanciale, diced into small ½ cm cubes
- In a large saucepan or stock pot, bring some salted water to a simmer. Add the dried pasta and cook according to the packet instructions (take off 1 or 2 minutes off the packet instruction cooking time if you prefer your pasta al dente). Add your sliced vegetables to the same pot of cooking water as the pasta for the last 4 minutes of cooking to blanche.
- White the pasta is cooking, heat up the olive oil in a separate saucepan. Cook onions and pancetta or guanciale (if using) for about 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Next add the tomato puree, 1 tsp of sugar (to balance out the acidity of the tomato puree) and the Nduja. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then pour in 100 ml of white wine (or water). Scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan to deglaze and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the liquid reduces by about half.
- Add the Mascarpone cheese, lemon juice and zest and stir everything together. Season with a pinch of salt if needed.
- Drain the pasta and vegetables and stir thru the Mascarpone Nduja sauce. Serve immediately.
Nduja, Tomato & Fennel Sausage Ragu Pasta
The pasta noodles to use
You can use any type of long noodle you like for this scallop pasta. We like to use linguine, which looks lovely and has a nice thickness. But of course, there are lots of other options too. Here are the types of pasta noodles we’d recommend:
- Linguine: Our top choice! Use dried or even better, fresh linguine if you can find it.
- Bucatini: It’s like hollow spaghetti! Another favorite…see it in our Shrimp Pasta.
- Spaghetti: Or serve with one of the most popular noodles of all, spaghetti!
- Angel hair: These thin stands would work well here, and pair nicely with the delicate scallops.
- Fettucine: Fettucine is a little thicker than linguine and would also work well.
Little Neck Clam Sauce
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small diced onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons basil
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
12 fresh little neck clams, chopped
2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley
Melt butter and olive oil in pan.
Saute onion and garlic add crushed red pepper flakes.
Add lemon juice, oregano, basil and Old Bay seasoning stir for one minute. Add clams with juice.
What should you serve with Lemon Pasta?
- I love to serve this Roasted Broccoli alongside my Lemon Pasta. The ingredients in both dishes are very similar, so they pair really well together and you don’t have to purchase a lot of extra ingredients.
- Another great option is a Caesar Salad. I love this Chicken Kale Caesar Salad or this Vegan Caesar Salad.
- Have some tomatoes on hand? This Cherry Tomato Salad with Roasted Lemons is another great side dish with delicious lemon flavor.
I hope that you love this Lemon Pasta as much as I do. And as perfect as it is for a dinner party, it’s also equally amazing to enjoy it while you’re in PJ’s enjoying an episode of the Real Housewives and a chilled glass of J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay… You may even have the ingredients on hand already to make it. No need for a special occasion – any day of the week is perfect for Lemon Pasta.
Easy Pasta Recipes:
Angel hair pasta with crispy whitebait & lemon carbonara
This is a great summertime starter or light lunch. If whitebait is out of season and you can’t find any frozen, you could easily substitute it with your favourite seafood, e.g. prawns, crayfish or mussels.
- 400 gram 00 pasta flour
- 155 gram tepid water
- 20 millilitre Simunovich Estate lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil
- 3 large eggs
- 90 millilitre fresh lemon juice
- 5 gram salt
- 1 lemon, zest
- 40 gram sugar
- 60 gram butter
- 150 millilitre grapeseed or vegetable oil
- simunovich estate lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoon (heaped tbsp) chopped fresh herbs (avoid ‘hard’ herbs such as thyme or rosemary)
- 2 tablespoon salmon caviar – optional but a great textural treat
- 50 gram whitebait per person (or more if you like)
- 40 gram 00 pasta flour
- 2 tablespoon toasted breadcrumbs (i use wafers of my squid-ink bread but any bread will do tear bread for a rustic look)
- picked fennel tips – optional
(This recipe is ready in 45 minutes however, if you're making your own pasta, add on 1 hour 15 minutes plus overnight chilling) You can make the pasta, curd and breadcrumbs ahead of time and throw everything together at the last minute, leaving your friends and family to marvel at your genius. I’ve made my own angel hair pasta because it’s something I love to do, but don’t let that scare you off – just buy quality dried angel hair pasta from a specialty food store.