Monthly Archives: August 2010

"Squiddle Pasta" by Kirstin Massmann

Disclaimer: This proves that although I have a serious passion for food, I still have so much more to learn!
For my boyfriend’s birthday I polled the employees of CBI to find a great new place neither of us had been to before.  After researching the menus and discussing it with Tim (my boyfriend) we decided on Piccolo Sogno located on Halsted at Milwaukee and Grand.  The inside was beautiful but we heard the outside patio was the place to be!  This blog really begins when we were ordering our entrées.  (I don’t want to make light of the atmosphere or the wine, appetizers etc. because they were all delightful but there is a point to this!)  Anyway, Tim ordered the short ribs with polenta and vegetables and I ordered spaghetti neri, a black pasta served with clams, muscles, calamari, and shrimp (all delicious things I love!).  I thought the pasta being black was just a cool perk and didn’t put any thought into what makes it black.  Green noodles are traditionally spinach, red noodles are made with tomato or roasted peppers etc. but what makes black noodles black?  I asked our server and he mumbled out “it’s soaked in ‘squiddle’ to give a really extraordinary flavor!”  After that description he flew off leaving us even more confused.  We played with the word ‘squiddle’ for a few minutes trying to figure out what he was talking about.  Finally, Tim in a joking voice said “what if he actually said they’re soaked in squid ink!?”  My face turned thinking about my delicious seafood pasta soaking in an animal’s defense mechanism…
 Our food arrived and Tim dove right into his ‘fall-apart-eat-with-a-spoon’ tender short ribs while I looked intriguingly at my very blackest black pasta.  Anyone who knows me can tell you I will never turn down trying new food (especially after a glass or two of wine).  So I gave it a twirl figuring worse comes to worst I eat half of Tim’s and we indulge in two desserts or stop at Chipotle on the way home.  Boy was I shocked!  By no means could this exquisite pasta have been soaked in squid ink.  It had a bit more texture than regular noodles and flavor that I can hardly describe. Our server came back to check on us and I had to know the truth.  Sure enough he was not saying ‘squiddle’ but in fact my beautiful black pasta was soaked in squid ink.   Needless to say I was way too invested in the flavors of the pasta to care what it was soaked in!  It added a ‘just caught’ fish flavor to the pasta without crossing into the dreaded fishy taste.  Now looking back and after doing some research I still think the concept is a little weird. (Probably doesn’t help that I watched a “How to Harvest Squid Ink” video on youtube…)  But both the pasta and our whole experience at Piccolo Sogno was wonderful.  If you ever get the opportunity to try either, dive-in and enjoy!  As for me, I’m beginning to wonder what else I’m missing out on….