“Best before”, Expiry dates and Creativity – Artichoke and Seafood Pasta

The word ‘creative’ is bandied about quite a lot in food and culinary speak, isn’t it.  And creativity is indeed the spice of life — literally!  When sperm and cell get together, that’s what they do, they ‘create’ life!  When it comes to cooking, I am not always impressed by the finer shades of the word ‘creative’, however, because quite often it means that the person who thinks he or she is being frightfully clever and ‘creative’ is actually cutting corners.  The genuine creative cooks are those who know their stuff inside out and who have a lot of experience to back them up, they don’t cut corners! they build upon sound foundations.  End of lecture.

I thought I would go ‘creative’ last week … but not because my seams were bursting with hubris and arrogance but, quite simply, because I had to deal with some leftovers and some squid ink pasta that had recently gone past its best-before date.  I suppose we could call this ‘faux creativity’, spurred on as it was by a rationale of waste-not-want-not and good husbandry as opposed to any searing fire of culinary genius.

1One leftover artichoke (cooked as per previous post, i.e. with a pressure cooker).

2One packet of squid-ink spaghetti … whose expiry date was November 2012.  Ahem (clearing my throat) … I wasn’t going to throw them away.

3Some olive oil in the saucepan, together with slices of garlic.

4Some cherry tomatoes, about to get washed.

5I switched the heat on and added a little chilli …

6After a few minutes, I added the chopped up tomatoes.

7I added some salt too.  The green ‘bits’ are a thyme leaves …

8A few ‘triglie’ —  these are red mullets but you can see how tiny they are.  These came out of my freezer.

9I placed the mini red mullets in a bowl full of flour … and, on the right right, you can just about see that I roughly chopped the artichoke.


Just to recap: I turned the heat on, to cook the garlic, than added the tomatoes, and finally the chopped up artichoke.  While they were getting acquainted over a medium heat, I dredged the red mullets in flour and fried them in plenty of oil:


12I rested the fried red mullets on some kitchen paper.

10At this point the squid ink pasta was ready to be drained from the boiling water, directly into the saucepan:

13I mixed it all up, and added some of the cooking water too, until the pasta was the right consistency (al dente).

14Some roughly chopped parsley …

15And voilà: announcing the just created tomato, artichoke and red mullet squid-ink spaghetti!

Finishing touch:

16I had some bottarga (dried fish roe) in the fridge …

17Some freshly grated bottarga as a last touch on the dish for those who wanted some (not everyone likes bottarga).

It may have been ‘creative’ of me — but was it good?  Hmmm.  Ahem … errrrr.  Not bad, actually, more like pretty good (especially since this was lunch on Monday) but even so … I shall have to work at this recipe to get a little more ‘oomph’ into it.  Some freshness was lacking.  Whatever.  We were hungry and gobbled the lot:


About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
This entry was posted in Artichokes - Carciofi, Fish and seafood, italian home food, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to “Best before”, Expiry dates and Creativity – Artichoke and Seafood Pasta

  1. Delish! Excellent way to clean out the fridge, my dear.

  2. Curious about the squid ink pasta. I’ve had squid cooked in its own ink in Portugal and in the UK (by a then Spanish friend) and I really enjoyed it, both times. Can’t imagine what the pasta is like, though. And it’s not something I wouldn’t find here. Do love the idea of the fish with the veggies.
    Totally agree with you about cutting corners!

  3. Sophia says:

    SO, I have squid ink pasta two years out of date. Is it safe or not?

    • Hello Sophia … my answer is I don’t really know? What I would do is check the pasta first, see what it looks like and smells. Then if it’s “okay”, I would cook a tiny amount and taste it, very gingerly. It it tastes nasty you can just spit it out!

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