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/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)
- 1-2 tablespoons salt (coarse sea)
- 3/4 pound/320 grams spaghetti
- Fine sea salt to taste
Clean the Squid
- To begin cleaning the squid, carefully separate the heads from the tentacles.
- Remove the guts, setting aside the ink sacs (be careful not to break them).
- Wash the squid well under cold water, dice the bodies, and chop the tentacles.
- Over a small bowl, open the ink sacs and collect the ink.
Cook the Dish
- In a pot, heat the oil and saute the garlic without letting it brown.
- Add the squid, minced parsley, and a generous dusting of freshly ground pepper.
- 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).
- Once the sauce has simmered, mix the tomato sauce or paste with the white wine and add it to the pot.
- Simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.
- 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.
- 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.
- At the same time, stir the squid ink into the sauce, adding the amount that suits your taste.
- When the spaghetti is al dente (usually 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the brand), drain it well.
- 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.