This ingenious squid Bolognese recipe from Pierre Koffmann was inspired by his travels, the chef says: "I was on a trip to Tarbes (South West France) when I discovered a dish called “Squid Carbonara”. I thought to myself if someone could make a carbonara from squid, why not a Bolognese. And so the idea for Squid Bolognese was born." It has become a signature starter on menus at The Berkeley.
Koffmann's cooking is undeniably refined; classical yet humble, with provincial French touches grounding the skilful elegance of the food. Taking inspiration from his Gascon roots, Koffmann artfully extracts extraordinary flavour from ordinary ingredients and cuts.
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To prepare the squid, chop the squid tentacles and wings until very fine. Cut the squid bodies in half lengthways, flatten out and stack one half on top of the other in vacuum-pack bags and seal. Freeze the squid bodies in the bags for at least two hours, or until frozen solid
3 squid, body, tentacles and wings separated
Heat a frying pan until hot, add a dash of olive oil and the chopped tentacles and wings. Cook over a medium heat until all of the liquid comes out. Drain the squid mince, discarding the liquid
In a separate frying pan, add a dash of olive oil and gently fry the shallot and garlic with the bouquet garni until softened
50g of shallots, finely chopped
80g of garlic, finely chopped
1 bouquet garni, small
Add the cooked chopped squid, parsley and tomato purée to the frying pan and cook for 5-10 minutes
25g of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus 1 tbsp to serve
20g of tomato purée
Add the brandy and cook until it has reduced in volume, add the wine and reduce by half again
50ml of brandy
150ml of white wine
Add the chilli flakes and top up the pan with water, until just covering the pan contents. Bring the pan up to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until the squid is tender and the volume of liquid has reduced. Check the seasoning - add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pinch of chilli flakes
Just before serving, bring a pan of water up to the boil. Take the frozen squid bodies out of the freezer and remove from the vacuum-pack bags. Thinly slice the frozen squid bodies into 2mm thick slices. Drop the squid slices into the boiling water and cook for 10-15 seconds
Drain well and mix with the softened butter, salt and freshly ground black pepper
75g of butter, softened
To serve, spoon the squid slices into serving bowls and spoon the ragout on top. Finish with some grated Parmesan and chopped parsley
25g of Parmesan, grated
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