Spaghetti alla Checca
A Guy Grossi Recipe
400g small cuttlefish, cleaned
120ml extra virgin olive oil
½ white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly squashed
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 tablespoons dry white wine
5 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded then diced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
320g fresh or frozen peas
If you cannot buy the cuttlefish already cleaned, it is easy to do at home – messy, but easy. Over the sink, pull the tentacles away from the body. With a pair of scissors, cut the body open lengthways, and discard everything that is inside. Peel off the skin and rinse the body and tentacles thoroughly under running cold water.
Pat dry and cut the white flesh into 1cm strips. For the tentacles, cut off the eye at the base, leaving just enough flesh to hold them together. Rinse and pat dry, but leave them whole, because they will look fantastic in the sauce.
Heat the olive oil in a terracotta dish if you have one (or a heavy-based frying pan if you don’t) over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the onion is soft and translucent.
Discard the garlic as soon as it starts to change colour. Add the cuttlefish – body and tentacles – and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes until the cuttlefish becomes ivory white. Stir in the white wine and simmer until the alcohol has evaporated. Add the tomato and season with salt and pepper.
Mix well, then turn the heat down to low–medium and simmer for 15 minutes, checking and stirring regularly. Add the peas and cook for another 10 minutes (5 minutes if using frozen peas), adding a little warm water, a tablespoon at a time, if the sauce seems too dry.
Cook the fusilli in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and add to the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley, toss for about a minute then serve immediately.
From 'The Art of Pasta' by Lucio Galletto & David Dale
Credits: 'The Art of Pasta' by Lucio Galletto & David Dale