Venetian-Style Squid Ink Pasta (spaghetti al nero di seppia)

Impress your guests with this exotic dish that is deceptively simple! Derived from my best memory of Venice (and out of necessity here in the US - difficult to find outside nyc or sf, & pretty much impossible to get it on the cheap). This recipe can be done in 15 minutes.

As usual, this is the lazy bum's approach - I'm not cleaning a cuttlefish and collecting ink. Buy a jar of squid ink from your local whole foods (or similar specialty grocery, or amazon) and get pre-cleaned cuttlefish - previously frozen is perfectly fine. Get the pasta boiling and start with a sofrito base; saute squid or cuttlefish in the base; add squid ink and a broth (I'm using clam juice, seafood stock or even vegetable broth would work just as well)

A sofrito is a blend of aromatics, I would say the only essential component here is olive oil, garlic, and onions. You can dial back the tomatoes and pepper if you're not a big fan of sweet and spicy, or if you have an empty pantry. (Tomato paste & paprika powder will work just as well as substitutes if you don't have fresh veggies!)


1 lb spaghetti
1 onion (preferably Vidalia, use yellow if you can't find sweet onion)
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 small chili pepper, chopped (~1tbsp)
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1 lb cuttlefish, sliced
1 tbsp squid ink
1/2 cup clam juice
extra virgin olive oil, as needed


Saute the onion until translucent, add finely sliced garlic and cook until softened & fragrant. Add chili pepper and give it a sear for a minute or two. Then add diced tomatoes and cook until softened. Add cuttlefish and sear until flesh is no longer translucent, about 3~4 min. Add squid ink and clam juice. Bring to a boil and toss with cooked pasta. Garnish with parsley and cherry tomatoes.