Many people consider seafood better than fish. And you?
ingredients for 4 servings (cost about 8€ pp)
- 4 small cuttlefish about 250 g each
- 1,2 litre fish or vegetable stock, lightly salted
- 1 bay leaf
- EV olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 320 g fideus or other similar pasta shape
- parpika de la Vera
- fresh oregano
Molluscs are the most common living creatures of the seas. It is estimated that about 23% of the marine animals belong to this category. The main representatives? Οctopus, cuttlefish and squids.
All these kinds, during their evolution, have lost their hard outer shells and take part of the class Cephalopoda. As their name shows these animals have only two visible parts. Head (kefali in Greek) and legs (Podia).
Many people think that squids and cuttlefish are the same animals, but they are wrong. Let´s see their main differences:
a) Squids have a flexible, feather-shaped structure inside their bodies (the pen), while cuttlefish have a broader internal shell (the cuttlebone)
b) Squids have a torpedo-shaped body compared to the broader body of the cuttlefish.
c) Squids can be enormous, while cuttlefish dimensions have a limit.
d) Squid ink is of better quality than cuttlefish ink, which is more common.
e) Cuttlefish´ s flesh is considered better than the squid´s. It is preferred for slower preparations, as it keeps its aroma even if long cooked, while squid is better for frying, grilling and quicker cooking methods.
Iberian cooks use a different than the common technique to prepare pasta, similar to the one they use in Italy for the spaghetti all´ assassina. The fideus, as these pastas are called, are at the beginning less or more fried or roasted in the oven and then cooked in stock.
The Spanish fideus are not as thin as the Italian ones. Especially the ones that we use today (the gruesos) are like the well known macaroni, which are used for the famous American dish mac ´n cheese (eek).
After this information let´s cook our dish, starting with the cuttlefish. We clean the molluscs, we remove cuttlebone, stomach and head and we cut the body to pieces. We bring to boil a pot with salted water, we add the bay leaf and the onion and we cook the cuttlefish till very tender. We must start checking it after 50 minutes, but, they may need more time. We strain and keep aside.
We heat a little bit of oil in a large pan and we toss the pasta, turning it constantly to cover it with oil (it does not take much time, just 1 or 2 mins), until it gets a light golden colour, being careful so that it does not get burnt.
We then add to the pan the already cooked onion, cut into small pieces and the tomato paste. When the preparation starts to turn to deep red, we add a ladle of stock and the cuttlefish.
We continue adding ladles of very hot stock (as we do with the risotto, but a little bit earlier each time), until the pasta is ready. All dente of course.
We put in plates, we add some paprika, we garnish with fresh oregano and we serve.