Spaghetti and Squid in Squid Ink Sauce Recipe

Pasta in squid-ink sauc
Alain Muriot/Getty Images
  • Total: 2 hrs
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Yield: 4 Portions (4 Servings)
Ratings (34)

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.

What You'll Need

  • 1 1/4 pounds/600 grams 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/80 mL white wine (dry)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons salt (coarse sea)
  • 3/4 pound/320 grams spaghetti
  • Fine sea salt to taste

How to Make It

Clean the Squid

  1. To begin cleaning the squid, carefully separate the heads from the tentacles.
  2. Remove the guts, setting aside the ink sacs (be careful not to break them).
  3. Wash the squid well under cold water, dice the bodies, and chop the tentacles.
  4. Over a small bowl, open the ink sacs and collect the ink.

Cook the Dish

  1. In a pot, heat the oil and saute the garlic without letting it brown.
  2. Add the squid, minced parsley, and a generous dusting of freshly ground pepper.
  1. 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).
  2. Once the sauce has simmered, mix the tomato sauce or paste with the white wine and add it to the pot.
  3. Simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.
  4. 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.
  5. Thirty 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.
  6. At the same time, stir the squid ink into the sauce, adding the amount that suits your taste.
  7. When the spaghetti is al dente (usually 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the brand), drain it well.
  8. Toss the spaghetti with the sauce to coat all of the strands evenly, and serve.

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.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
463 Calories
16g Fat
44g Carbs
32g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)