Pasta coated in black squid ink sauce (Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia) is something you either love or hate. I do happen to love this Italian dish for its umami deliciousness, but I’m really self-conscious about eating it outside as it is quite messy (think black-stained lips!) So I tried making my own at home. Even though my version do not have the lovely jet black shade like the ones I ate at restaurants, (mine has a dark brownish tinge), the taste is good and the ink is not as staining.
Credits: I learnt this squid ink sauce recipe from an Italian chef recently, who verbally taught me the ingredients and steps involved in making this dish. I’m not crediting his name only because I don’t think I did his recipe any justice, and also since we are just acquaintances, I will feel bad if I bother him for the exact measurements or feedback about my dish. I’m definitely grateful to the chef for graciously sharing his culinary expertise with a noob cook – thank you!
Easy recipe for pasta (usually spaghetti or linguine) coated in a savoury squid ink sauce.
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:15 mins
2 servings (about 120-150 grams) spaghetti or linguine
1/2 + 1 tbsp olive oil
2 chilli padi de-seeded and sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves minced
1 medium squid cleaned & sliced thinly
1/2 onion chopped finely
1/2 stalk celery sliced thinly
1 sachet (4 grams) squid ink (nero di seppia)
200 ml chicken stock
5 tbsp tomato pasta sauce
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning may substitute with fresh herbs e.g. rosemary and thyme, chopped finely
1 tbsp cream
20 grams butter cubed
a small handful Italian flat-leaf parsley chopped finely
salt & pepper to taste
Cook pasta in a pot of salted boiling water, until al dente (I usually minus about 2-3 minutes from the packaging's recommended timing). Drain pasta.
Heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a saucepan, add chilli and garlic. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add squid, a tiny pinch of salt and stir-fry briefly until the squid is just cooked and turns opaque. Set aside.
Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan with the squid juices, fry the onions and celery on low heat for a few minutes until the onions are nicely sweated. Then add squid ink, chicken stock, pasta sauce and Italian seasoning.
When the sauce bubbles, lower the heat. Stir in cream and butter. You may tweak the consistency of the sauce by adding more chicken stock or cream. Season with salt (only if needed) and black pepper.
Coat cooked pasta in the squid ink sauce and divide into two serving plates. Top with the previously cooked squid and parsley.
Noob Cook Tip
Squid ink may stain your clothes (permanently), hands and kitchen surfaces (not permanent). Be careful when handling squid ink and wear disposable gloves if preferred.