Here in Atlanta, there’s a cozy little restaurant called La Tavola. It’s kind of “our place”, Mike and I – the place we go when we need a spot to talk…or just want to talk. It’s been the site of more than one celebration and it’s been a spot we retreat to when we need a dark, tucked-away place to make a big decision. Hashing things out, coming to resolutions, clinking glasses. This place is perfect for that. The food is pretty wonderful, too.
I’ve been laying low this month. Trying to gain momentum on some personal projects. Letting myself recharge after a whirlwind first half of the year. Spending some days away from studios with junk filled craft service tables. Getting back to running again (more on that to come, I’m sure). I don’t feel like I’ve had much to say, honestly. I’m being purposefully quiet and that’s okay by me.
I realize though that when I do have stuff to say, this blog is still my own personal dark, tucked away corner. My spot to talk.
Every time we go to La Tavola, I toy with the idea of trying something new…but I always eat the exact same thing. While the menu changes seasonally, this dish is always on the menu in some form or another. It’s briny – really briny – and the perfect combination of heat, salt, herbs and garlic. Don’t make this dish if you’re not into that briny taste – I warned you. If you aren’t such a fan of squid, use rock shrimp or smaller red shrimp in the dish but I think the squid ink pasta here is key. In the restaurant, they use a Thai basil pesto in the dish. I’ve simplified it here and tossed in chopped herbs at the end with a healthy dose of garlic and chilies.
Squid Ink Pasta with Garlic, Chilies and Basil – serves 4 as a pasta course or smaller entree
– Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Throw in your pasta and cooked until al dente – 5 to 6 minutes for mine but read the packaging and test it while its cooking. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and set pasta aside to drain.
– In this same pot, heat 2 tbsp. of the olive oil over medium heat until shimmer. Add in the garlic and the chopped chilies and saute until the garlic is tender but not brown. Add in the squid and stir to get it coated with the oil & garlic mixture. You want to have the squid just firm up a little bit and turn opaque – this can overcook quickly and be very chewy. Once the squid is cooked, add the pasta back in with a bit of the cooking liquid – add it a little bit at a time just so the pasta is coated. Drizzle on the last bit of olive oil, stir in the chopped basil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately once the pasta is warmed back through.