Spaghetti and Squid in Squid Ink Sauce

Pasta in squid-ink sauc
Alain Muriot/Getty Images
  • Total: 2 hrs
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Yield: 4 Portions (4 Servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
463 Calories
16g Fat
44g Carbs
32g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 Portions (4 Servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 463
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 330mg 110%
Sodium 3644mg 158%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Protein 32g
Calcium 134mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In this dramatic Italian dish called spaghetti al nero di seppia, tender fresh squid is cooked in a sauce containing its own ink. This adds both a tangy sea flavor and a deep black glow to the sauce. You will most likely have to go to a fishmonger who has very fresh fish to obtain the squid, but it's worth the trip.

There is, of course, squid-ink pasta, in which the squid ink is mixed into the dough so that the pasta itself is jet black. However, that is a completely different dish. In this recipe, regular spaghetti is tossed in a tangy sauce made of squid ink, white wine, tomato paste, and squid. It's very interesting and definitely a culinary adventure.


  • 1 1/4 pounds squid (extremely fresh, uncleaned)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled, minced)
  • 1 small bunch parsley (minced)
  • Black pepper (freshly ground, to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (diluted in a little water, or 3 tablespoons tomato sauce)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti
  • Fine sea salt (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. To begin cleaning the squid, carefully separate the heads from the tentacles.

  3. Remove the guts, setting aside the ink sacs (be careful not to break them).

  4. Wash the squid well under cold water.

  5. Dice the bodies and chop the tentacles.

  6. Over a small bowl, open the ink sacs and collect the ink.

  7. In a pot, heat the oil and sauté the garlic without letting it brown.

  8. Add the squid, minced parsley, and a generous dusting of freshly ground pepper.

  9. Cover and simmer the sauce over low heat for about 45 minutes. Check it periodically to make sure it's not sticking (if it is, add a little hot water).

  10. Once the sauce has simmered, mix the tomato paste or sauce with the white wine and add it to the pot.

  11. Simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.

  12. Dilute the sauce with a little hot water, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes longer. At this point, the sauce should be neither too soupy nor too dry.

  13. About 30 minutes before serving time, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, add 1 to 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt, and stir. Once it's returned to a rolling boil, add the pasta.

  14. At the same time, stir the squid ink into the sauce, adding the amount that suits your taste.

  15. When the spaghetti is al dente (usually 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the brand), drain it well.

  16. Toss the spaghetti with the sauce to coat all of the strands evenly.

  17. Serve and enjoy!

Wine Pairing Suggestions

A white wine would be an excellent pairing for this dish. You can even enjoy the remainder of the wine you cooked with. A Lugana might be nice as well, and a Chardonnay makes another worthy and easily attainable choice.