Black squid ink pasta (also known as spaghetti al nero di seppia), coated in the best rich and briny white wine sauce with juicy prawns/shrimp. Ready in just 30 minutes, this one is swift yet impressive and worthy of any occasion.
Whether you're looking to relive that amazing holiday dish, planning a cosy romantic dinner, or throwing a dinner party, you can get ready for a whirlwind of flavours that will leave anyone in awe. Plus, with its mesmerizing jet-black colour, this is the perfect pasta for Halloween.
When unexpected guests arrive, easy pasta recipes become a true lifesaver. Try out these crowd-pleasers like the tantalizing Harissa Pasta with Prawns, Spicy Miso Pasta, or the luxuriously Creamy White Wine Pasta sauce. You'll have a delicious meal ready in no time!
The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!
4 Reasons why you'll love this recipe
- Served with a delicious, deeply briny rich homemade white wine sauce.
- Easy to put together. Ready in 30 minutes.
- Add succulent shrimp/prawns and soft salty samphire/sea beans or serve alone.
- An occasion-worthy dish that's sure to impress. Perfect for Valentine's Day or Halloween.
🛒 Key ingredients:
- Squid ink pasta: You can use dry, fresh or make your own. I tend to opt for dry for convenience. You can find dry squid ink pasta in some supermarkets including Trader Joe’s and Cost Plus World Market in the US and Ocado in the UK. Otherwise, some speciality stores will stock it or you can order online.
- Shrimp/prawns: can be raw or precooked. Raw are often juicier but cooked are more convenient.
- White wine: Adds complexity and richness to the sauce. Choose one that's dry, crisp and has a good level of acidity like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or Vermentino.
- Anchovy paste: adds a briny, salty taste to the sauce. You should be able to find it in your local supermarket. Otherwise, you can add salt to taste.
- Squid ink: adds extra briny flavour to the sauce. It's unlikely you'll find it in your usual supermarket/store and will need to visit a speciality store or buy online. It's inexpensive, has a long shelf life and is great to have in your pantry.
- Samphire/sea beans: adds a bright crispy salty freshness to the pasta and is highly recommended if you can find them. It's in season during the summer months and will be available in some supermarkets/stores and is often stocked by fishmongers.
Substitutions and variations:
Note that the recipe has not been tested with the below substitutions and variations, so the results cannot be guaranteed.
- Shrimp/prawns - swap for other seafood like scallops, squid, clams or mussels. You can also omit the seafood and enjoy the pasta with the white wine sauce or serve it as a side with grilled fish.
- White wine - substitute with vermouth or stock for an alcohol-free option.
- Fish stock: chicken or veg stock won't complement the other flavours in the sauce as well, but they will work just fine.
- Anchovy paste - add a little salt to taste if not using
🧑🍳 Recipe steps
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Step 1: Place a medium to large frying pan on a medium heat, add half of the butter and cook the samphire for a few minutes until tender and set aside.
Step 2: Add the shrimp/prawns and cook for a few minutes until opaque and remove from the pan and set aside.
Step 3: Add the remaining butter to the pan and fry the garlic for a minute or two until fragrant. Then pour in the white wine and let it simmer for a few minutes until reduced by half.
Step 4: Add the tomato puree, anchovy paste (if using), squid ink (if using) and fish stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 5: Add the lemon juice and zest, cooked prawns and samphire to the sauce. Then toss the cooked pasta in the sauce and serve immediately.
🍽️ Serving suggestions
Squid ink pasta can be served as a stand-alone meal or side with cooked fish like a Blackened Cod Fillet, Furikake Salmon or Air Fryer Panko Cod
A glass of wine completes the dish in my opinion. Choose one that enhances the rich briny flavours in the dish without overpowering them like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonay, a dry rosé or Vermentino.
A refreshing green salad will also go nicely as will some fresh bread.
- Avoid overcooking the shrimp/prawns. They're done as soon as they turn opaque. Remove them from the pan as soon as they are done to prevent them from becoming dry and rubbery.
- Reserve pasta water. You're unlikely to need it but it does come in useful if the sauce is too thick.
- Add lemon at the end to get those bright citrusy notes that complement the rich flavours in the sauce. The lemony freshness will be muted if you add it too soon.
🙋 Recipe FAQs
Squid ink pasta can be described as rich, briny, and slightly salty. Squid ink doesn't taste fishy, but adds a unique depth and complexity, giving the pasta a distinct oceanic taste.
Cooked squid ink pasta tastes best when served fresh, but can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. It can be reheated in the oven or microwave. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if the pasta has become dry and sticky.
Squid ink contains a dark pigment called melanin that can temporarily colour your teeth and tongue. However, the staining is superficial and will go away when you drink or brush your teeth.
Squid ink, also known as cephalopod ink, is a dark liquid produced by squid, cuttlefish, and octopus. It is primarily used as a defence mechanism, allowing these creatures to escape from predators by creating a cloud of ink that confuses or disorients their attackers.
It brings a distinct dark colour and a subtle briny flavour to food and can be used to add colour and flavour to pasta and risotto dishes and seafood stews.
Squid ink is derived from animals, specifically cephalopods like squid, cuttlefish, and octopus, and it is not suitable for individuals following a vegetarian diet.
😋 Check out my other shrimp/prawn recipes
Did you try this recipe? It would be really great if you could leave a comment and a star rating ⭐️. I would love to receive your feedback and know that other readers find it helpful too.
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Squid Ink Pasta With White Wine Sauce
- 60 g (2 tbsp) butter
- 300g (11 oz) raw shrimp/prawns (Note 1)
- 400 g (14 oz) squid ink pasta (Note 2)
- 4 cloves (4 cloves) garlic minced
- 150 ml (⅔ cup) white wine (Note 3)
- 1.5 tsp anchovy paste (Note 4)
- 3 tbsp tomato puree
- 8 g (⅓ ounce optional) squid ink optional (Note 5)
- 300 ml (1 ¼ cups) fish stock (Note 6)
- ½ lemon juice and zest
- 100 g (3.5 oz) samphire/sea beans to finish (optional) (Note 7)
- Place a large frying pan on a medium heat and add half of the butter.
- Cook the samphire for a few minutes until softened and set aside.
- Add the shrimp/prawns when the butter gets hot and cook for a few minutes until opaque and set aside.
- Cook the pasta in a large pan of generously salted water according to packet instructions.
- Meanwhile, add the remaining butter and fry the garlic for a minute or two until fragrant.
- Pour in the white wine and let it simmer for a few minutes until reduced by half.
- Add the tomato puree and anchovy paste and simmer for a few minutes until reduced a little.
- Stir the squid ink (if using) into the fish stock and pour into the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Drain the cooked pasta, ensuring you reserve a little pasta water. (Note 8)
- Stir in the lemon juice and zest then toss the cooked pasta and shrimp/prawns in the sauce. Add 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water if a little extra moisture is needed.
- Serve immediately, topped with optional samphire.
- Shrimp/prawns: can use raw or precooked. Skip step 3 if using cooked.
- Squid ink pasta: You can use dry, fresh or make your own. You can find dry squid ink pasta in some supermarkets including Trader Joe’s and Cost Plus World Market in the US and Ocado in the UK. Otherwise, some speciality stores will stock it, or you can order online.
- White wine: Choose one that's dry, crisp and has a good level of acidity like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or Vermentino.
- Anchovy paste: You should be able to find it in your local supermarket. Otherwise, you can add salt to taste.
- Squid Ink: Optional and adds extra briny flavour to the sauce. It's unlikely you'll find it in your usual supermarket/ store and will need to visit a speciality store or buy online.
- Fish Stock: Chicken or veg stock won't complement the other flavours in the sauce as well, but they will work just fine.
- Samphire/sea beans: Add a bright crispy salty freshness to the pasta and is highly recommended if you can find them. It's in season during the summer months and will be available in some supermarkets/stores and is often stocked by fishmongers.
- Reserved pasta water: It's unlikely you'll need it but useful to have on-hand if the sauce needs a little extra moisture.
Can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheated in the oven or microwave. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if the pasta has become dry and sticky.
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