I love squid ink, whether it's in pasta or risotto, I just always love that splash of black on my plate - it must be the designer in me! To be fair, I know some people find the flavor too pronounced and might be hesitant to try it, which is why I was so happy when we finally brought over Agrozimi's squid ink couscous. I've written before about Kosta and his brother and the amazing work that they've done to grow their grandfather's business, and the fact that they're able to hold on to traditional techniques while still injecting fresh new flavors and textures into their third-generation pasta company. The squid ink couscous is a great example of that - it's still handmade into little round pearls but they add a dash of pasteurized squid ink to give it just a touch of extra flavor. It's a lot milder than some of the other pasta I've tried, which is great for anyone wanting to try it for the first time.
This latest recipe is something I played with to make it more of a summer dish, rather than the traditional winter comfort food that pearl couscous can be (we usually eat it with a spoon!). I roasted tomatoes, seared some shrimp in Sparoza's lemony cooking blend and voilà, we had a colorful, filling but not too heavy of a summer lunch. I hope you like this colorful dish as much as my family did!
1 package Agrozimi squid ink couscous
1 lb shrimp, cleaned and de-veined
1 box of cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Wash and dry the cherry tomatoes, toss them in a large bowl with some extra virgin olive oil, salt, and some of the Sparoza cooking blend with lemon zest. Pour them into a baking tray and bake them at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, depending on their size.
Cook the couscous in boiling salted water for 12-14 minutes, according to package (cook a little less if you like it al dente).
While the couscous is cooking, heat in a frying pan a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil at medium heat and add the crushed garlic and more of the Sparoza cooking blend. Stir for about a minute until the garlic is browned and then turn up the heat to high, adding the shrimp. Sear them for 1-2 minutes on each side, until they're translucent. Transfer them to a bowl so that they don't keep cooking and set them aside.
When the couscous is ready, drain in a colander, keeping some of the cooking water in case you'll need it when mixing everything together. Return the couscous to the pot, add the shrimp, tomatoes and 3-4 tbsp of olive oil. Mix everything well, adding a little bit of the cooking water if the pasta looks too dry. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle more of the herbs on top, grind some fresh black pepper, drizzle more olive oil, mix well and serve!
P.S. If you don't want to bake the tomatoes, you can pan sear them as well. You can also substitute Roma tomatoes for the cherry tomatoes, if needed.
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