Main course, serves 2, one hour


Although you might think it extravagant to use a piece of white fish simply to flavour this dish and then just throw it away, I assure you that this is by far the better option than going to the trouble of making a fish stock from fish bones or purchasing a tub of "fresh fish stock" from the supermarket (don't even consider using this stuff). A small piece of haddock, skate, or even coley will suffice here.

2tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
200g cheap white fish, chopped
salt and pepper
1 glass dry white wine
a little fresh thyme and a bay leaf
25g butter
200g small squid tubes, cleaned and thinly f sliced, tentacles left intact
2 small sachets of preserved cuttlefish ink (available from all good fishmongers and specialist shops)
150g Cipriani white tagliarelle
squeeze of lemon juice
1tbsp chopped parsley

Fry the onion and garlic until just beginning to colour and then stir in the tomatoes. Cook these until soft and then add the fish, seasoning, white wine and herbs. Stew this mixture together for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and then pass through a fine sieve -- suspended over a bowl -- while pressing down well on the debris to extract all possible flavour from it into the juices below. Reduce this mixture over a low heat until just beginning to turn syrupy.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan and briefly sauté the squid until lightly coloured. Lift out from the pan using a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Add the reduced fishy liquid to the pan and whisk in the contents of the two sachets of ink. Boil the pasta in salted water until al dente, drain well and stir into the -- by now -- black sauce. Re-introduce the squid, together with the lemon juice and parsley, and stir and toss all together until fully amalgamated. Serve at once, directly from the pan, on to very hot plates.

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