To clean the cuttlefish, grasp the tube body in one hand and pull the head and tentacles from the body. Carefully detach the ink sac which is silvery in colour. Puncture the ink sac and squeeze the ink into a small bowl and set aside. Cut off the tentacles of the cuttlefish in one piece. Discard the insides and head of the cuttlefish. Cut off each tentacle and remove the skin by running your fingers underneath the skin and peeling it off, then cut each tentacle into small pieces and set aside. Remove the cuttlebone (a thin, clear sliver of cartilage) from the tube of the cuttlefish by holding onto the cuttlebone and pulling it from the tube. Lastly remove the skin from the tube of the cuttlefish. Discard skin. Rinse the cavity well and pat dry, then cut the cuttlefish tube into strips which are consistent in size with the tentacle pieces.
Note: the larger the cuttlefish, the bigger the ink sac.
Place the olive oil in a heavy-based stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is soft, then add the Italian passata and water. Bring to the boil, then add a pinch of salt, the cuttlefish pieces, squid ink and the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 45 minutes or until the sauce has reduced to your required consistency and the cuttlefish is tender. Stir the sauce occasionally to ensure it does not stick to the pot and burn, then remove from the heat. Discard garlic clove.
Place a large pot with water on high heat and bring to the boil. Add the linguine pasta and a pinch of salt to the boiling water and cook until ‘al dente’ – refer to the cooking time specified in pasta packet instructions. Drain the linguine pasta.
Add the drained linguine pasta to the stockpot with nero di seppia’ (black cuttlefish ink) sauce. Toss well to combine and soak up lovely nero di seppia flavour.
Divide the Linguini pasta ‘al nero di seppia’ (with black cuttlefish ink) among 4 serving bowls. Serve immediately – buon appetito.
Note: The cuttlefish must be extremely fresh and uncleaned (with ink sacs intact) for this recipe.
400g linguine pasta|1kg cuttlefish, uncleaned – refer to note|2 tablespoons (40ml) olive oil|½ large onion, peeled and finely chopped|1 large garlic clove, whole|700g Italian passata|500ml water|1 teaspoon sugar|Sea salt