Spaghetti Nero di Seppie

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Visiting Venice bought back a culinary memory of a pasta dish that I have always loved but haven’t had for years,  Spaghetti Nero di Seppie – Spaghetti with Squid Ink!   If you’re not comfortable buying a whole squid/cuttlefish and cleaning it yourself, ask your friendly fish monger to do it for you.  This service is offered here in Italy even in the supermarket and I happily take advantage of it.  It is important to tell the fish monger though what you plan to cook, to ensure that he conserves the little ink sac.  Traditionally in Italy, the black ink of seppia, or cuttlefish, is used to flavour pastas and risottos, especially from Venice down to Calabria. Apart from it’s deep black colour, it also lends a subtle seafood flavour to dishes.  When I bought the squid for this recipe, the ink sac was put inside a small plastic container to protect it and ensure it remained intact. If the ink sac is tiny, or if you are buyung pre-cleaned squid, you can buy small sachets of squid ink from the fish monger.  I bought one squid and cut up, it provided enough for 4 pasta servings.  You may prefer to buy small squid.  My squid came home in two pieces, the top’ ‘hood’ was separated from the bottom, ‘tentacles’.  I sliced the hood into small strips, and put aside the tentacles to cook on the grill to use for garnish.

Spaghetti Nero di Seppie

  • 350g spaghetti
  • 450-500g squid, sliced into small strips & rinsed well under running cold water.
  • 1 brown onion, medium – chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 125ml white wine
  • 300g tomatoes (I used 3/4 can of polpa by Mutti)
  • Ink Sac from squid
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • parsley
  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, and then add 2 tablespoons of rock salt to the water.
  2. Heat a little olive oil on a grill and on high heat, cook the tentacles from your squid until they are golden and have a BBQ’d look.  This won’t take long and will provide an impressive looking garnish to your pasta dish. img_4430
  3. Add 2 -3 tablespoons olive oil to a large frying pan, and add onion and garlic.  Allow to cook on a very low heat, until onion is transparent and just starting to turn golden.
  4. Increase heat to medium high, and add squid.  Stir  frequently, season with salt and pepper and add white wine.  Allow to cook until wine has almost evaporated.
  5. Add tomatoes, stir until combined, and then add squid ink. (Break sac in the pan).  Continue stirring until all ink is well incorporated into sauce.
  6. Lower heat, and allow to cook for another 15 minutes circa, until sauce thickens and squid is cooked and tender.  If the sauce seems too thick or ‘dry’, you can add some starchy water from where the pasta is cooking. d
  7. Meanwhile, while sauce cooks, cook your spaghetti until ‘al dente’. I suggest always cooking your pasta at least 2 minutes under the recommended cooking time written o the packet. Set a timer.
  8. When the timer goes off, add pasta to the frypan and continue cooking spaghetti for another couple of minutes, utilising pasta water if necessary.  Stir gently, ensuring all pasta is covered by pasta sauce.
  9. Serve immediately garnished with freshly chopped parsley and the grilled squid tentacles. e-1