Black cavatelli with clams, prawns and courgettes

Preparation time
over 2 hours
Cooking time
10 to 30 mins>
Serves 4


By Jane Baxter
From Saturday Kitchen

For the pasta

  • 300g/10½oz semolina, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp squid ink
  • 140ml/4½fl oz lukewarm water
  • salt

For the sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 200g/7oz courgettes, grated
  • 4 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 250g/9oz cooked prawns, cut into 1–2 cm/½–¾in pieces
  • 500g/1lb 2oz live clams, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • pinch dried chilli flakes
  • 100ml/3½fl oz white wine
  • 4 courgette flowers, shredded
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place the semolina in a food processor. Add the squid ink to a measuring jug with a pinch of salt. Add the lukewarm water to the jug and stir well. Gradually add the squid ink water to the flour in the food processor and process until a dough starts to form. Knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface for 5–10 minutes, or until elastic but not too soft. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for at least an hour.

  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper and dust with semolina.

  3. Flour a work surface with semolina and take a piece of pasta, keeping the rest wrapped up to prevent drying. Roll into a long sausage shape with a diameter of about 1.5cm/¾in. Press through a cavatelli machine or create the pasta shapes by hand. Cut the sausage shape into 1cm/½in pieces. Use your thumb to press the centre of each piece. Gently drag the piece away from you and roll your thumb to create a shell-like shape – the two sides should curl inwards and create a hollow in the centre. Place the shapes on the baking tray, repeat with the remaining pasta and leave to dry for 30 minutes before cooking.

  4. For the sauce, heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion gently for 2 minutes. Add the courgette and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the tomato and prawns, cook for a minute and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Discard any clams with broken shells and any that refuse to close when tapped. Place the clams, garlic, chilli and wine in a large saucepan. Give it a stir and cover. Place over a high heat for about 2–3 minutes, or until the clams open. Discard any clams that remain closed. Tip out into a colander over a bowl to catch and reserve the liquor.

  6. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes or until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, reduce down the reserved clam liquor to a few tablespoons. Add reduced clam liquor and the clams to the courgette mixture. Drain the pasta thoroughly and tip into the clam mixture. Stir everything to combine and season well with salt and pepper.

  7. Just before serving, stir through the courgette flowers and parsley and drizzle with the olive oil.