Neil Perry's squid-ink noodles with squid, smoked bacon and chilli

Italian meets Thai in this noodle dish.
Italian meets Thai in this noodle dish. Photo: William Meppem
Difficulty
Easy
Dietary
Dairy-free

This is a classic pasta dish that I enjoyed repurposing at Rockpool in the early '90s. The combination of Italian and Thai cooking has a depth of flavour that has me coming back for more. Think the saltiness of the fish sauce with the zest of the lime juice and the heat of the chillies, tempered by the smokiness of the bacon. Scallops, crab or prawns – or a combination thereof – are all good variations, but I don't think you can ever beat the tenderness of flash-fried squid.

Ingredients

12 cherry tomatoes

400g squid-ink noodles

2 slices two-day-old sourdough bread

100ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for croutons

400g cleaned, sashimi-grade squid, sliced into 5mm strips

4 rashers double-smoked belly bacon, diced

4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

6 green bird's-eye chillies, very finely sliced

1 tbsp squid ink (from Woolworths or a high-end grocer) mixed with ½ cup chicken stock

4 eschalots (French shallots), finely sliced

1 tbsp fish sauce

juice of 2 limes

½ bunch coriander, leaves picked, washed and dried

Method

1. Preheat oven to 130C fan-forced (150C conventional). Cut the tomatoes in half, place them on baking paper on a tray and cook for 40 minutes.

2. Cook the noodles in a pan of salted boiling water according to the instructions on the packet, and drain.

3. While the noodles are cooking, cut the bread into small dice, heat olive oil in a pan and, with seasoning, cook over a high heat until golden brown. Drain croutons and reserve for serving.

4. Heat the 100ml oil in a frying pan and, over a high heat, stir-fry the squid for no longer than 20 seconds. Add the bacon, garlic and chilli and cook for a further two minutes, stirring continuously.

5. Add drained noodles to the squid along with the squid ink and stock mixture, then add eschalot, fish sauce and lime juice. Check the seasoning; you may need a little salt. Add a good grind of pepper.

6. Quickly add the semi-dried tomato, fold through the coriander and remove from heat.

7. Fill four pasta bowls with the noodles and squid and spoon over any leftover sauce. Sprinkle with croutons and serve immediately.