A Blackout Pasta Dish
Monica’s Mercato, around the corner from our apartment in Boston, has hands-down the best Italian subs in Boston, but we were also mesmerized by the display of fresh and dried pastas. The eery ebony squid ink spaghetti called out to us. While we had never experimented with this type of pasta before, we had sampled it in Italy and various North End eateries, and loved its salty, briny sea flavor.
To accompany the spaghetti, we bolted across the street to the North End Fish Market and grabbed a few jumbo sea scallops to sear and pair with crumbled bacon and a garlicky lemon sauce. The combination of the slightly orange-hued bacon and the black spools of pasta got us thinking it’s about time to start planning for the upcoming ghoulish holiday.
Black Squid Ink Pasta with Seared Scallops and Bacon
1 lb squid ink pasta
3 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
12 large sea scallops
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 c dry white wine (whatever you’re drinking!)
1/4 c fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper throughout
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the squid ink spaghetti and cook as directed until al dente. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until crispy, 2-3 minutes. Remove the bacon from pan, reserving 1 T drippings in pan (if you have less than 1 T, add butter). Increase heat to high. Pat the scallops dry, then season with salt and pepper. Place the scallops in the hot skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until a golden brown crust forms. Transfer the scallops to a plate and cover to keep warm.
Reduce heat to medium and add 1 T EVOO. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, making sure not to burn. Add the wine then lemon juice and bring to a boil, loosening any browned bits. Cook until the sauce is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the al dente pasta, parsley, salt and pepper and toss. Divide the pasta among 4 plates, top with 3 scallops and sprinkle with chopped bacon, a drizzle of EVOO and a squeeze of lemon. Serves 4.