a spot to talk July 17, 2012

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

  • 8 0z. squid ink spaghetti or linguini – it’s widely available online and comes in a variety of sizes
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 red thai chilies – seeded and minced
  • 2 cups raw squid – you can use the tentacles, rings or a combination of both – rinsed and dried
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil or Thai basil, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

– 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.


Brian @ A Thought For Food Jul 17, 2012 08:07 am

I’ll take this for breakfast please! Looks incredible!

DessertForTwo Jul 17, 2012 08:07 am

I discovered I’m a fan of squid ink in san francisco’s little italy. Can’t get enough since! Ink risotto is tops, too :)

Living The Sweet Life Jul 17, 2012 09:07 am

Delicious!! The mister and I have a place like that too… it’s our little getaway, nothing special – but great food and a chance for us to just be.

I love how simple and yummy your pasta looks. Yummm :)

thelittleloaf Jul 17, 2012 11:07 am

This looks so simple and beautiful – I love the shots of the squid. I made squid ink bread once…really keen to try making my own pasta now!

foodbeforebrains Jul 17, 2012 02:07 pm

The picture of the squids on ice is extremely beautiful!

Miss T Jul 17, 2012 04:07 pm

I love squid and baby octopus so much its only a matter of time before I start sprouting extra limbs. Its good to lay low – I need that.
T x

Amanda@EasyPeasyOrganic Jul 18, 2012 12:07 am

Ha! I wasn’t expecting that picture when I opened the link to ‘a spot to talk’ :)

… but I love the notion of dark rooms that open hearts. Beautiful.

kazbi Jul 18, 2012 06:07 am

beautiful! gonna try it soon! :D

amelia from z tasty life Jul 19, 2012 11:07 pm

gorgeous looking dish. But more than anything, i like this cozy tucked away place too… that is, your blog.

Sebastian Jul 23, 2012 11:07 am

great pictures, yummy look ! :)

Becca @ The Dabblist Jul 25, 2012 10:07 pm

Stunning photos! I look forward to making this one.

Jenn@The Antique Garden Jul 26, 2012 05:07 pm

I love squid & briney, will have to source this out next time i’m in a fish market.

Wild Greens and Sardines Jul 27, 2012 07:07 pm

That’s my type of dish. Love squid ink. Beautiful photos.

Lisa Aug 2, 2012 11:08 am

Oh my, this looks amazing. I’ve really got to get myself over to a real deal fish monger one of these days. Frozen just doesn’t cut it in stuff like this!!

Alyson Aug 9, 2012 10:08 pm

This looks so delicious!

Michelle Aug 12, 2012 05:08 am

You know what I really don’t find a black pasta tasty because it’s like you’re eating worms but what makes me dive into your recipe is the fact that you got squids in it instead of shrimp or pork.

You changed my mind set when it comes to eating black pasta.

Morgan Aug 12, 2012 07:08 pm

LOVE briny, sounds fantastic. Haven’t been there in years.

kale Aug 14, 2012 06:08 pm

I’ve never tried squid ink pasta, but I’m excited it’s so widely available online!

Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) Sep 10, 2012 09:09 pm

I love squid ink pasta, it is so delicious. And your pictures of the calamari are beautiful!

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