Squid ink pasta is a black, ocean-flavored delicacy. Don't let the color of black pasta turn you down, it has an incredible flavor! The best sauce is, of course, the same fresh squids and delicious garlicky cherry tomatoes.
This squid ink pasta recipe marries sophistication with flavors of the ocean to make Handmade Squid Ink Pasta served with a simple Squid Sauce. Imagine being on the sun-kissed shores of Italy, where seafood delicacies mix with the art of pasta-making.
This Handmade Squid Ink Pasta with Squids and Tomatoes isn't just a pasta dish; it's an edible work of art that elevates a simple evening into a gourmet dinner. Imagine the faces of your guests when you bring to the table this homemade squid ink pasta at your next dinner party!
You don't need special ingredients for this recipe, other than the squid ink. Fresh pasta can be made with simply flour and eggs with the addition of squid ink, and the sauce only has 5 ingredients, so it's important you select the best quality ingredients.
- Squids. I absolutely recommend fresh squids. They're much more flavorful and the meat is softer, while frozen squids are often flavorless and chewy. Ask your fishmonger to clean them for you if you prefer to skip that step.
- Tomatoes. I love to use cherry Roma tomatoes for pasta sauces. They're as small as cherry tomatoes but they're less sweet and more flavorful, like Roma tomatoes. You can also use cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, or Roma tomatoes as well.
- White Wine. I recommend using a dry white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc, when cooking pasta sauce, it complements best the sweetness of tomatoes. If you don't want to use wine, you can skip it but the flavor of the sauce will be weaker (also keep in mind that the alcohol completely evaporates during the cooking).
- Semolina Flour. When making fresh pasta I recommend using both all-purpose flour and semolina flour for the best consistency and flavor. Semolina flour is slightly coarser than all-purpose flour. Look for "Semola Rimacinata" if you can, usually sold specifically to make pasta and bread. If you cannot find semolina flour, you can use only all-purpose flour.
What is Squid Ink
You may know that squids, cuttlefish, and octopuses produce black ink as a self-defense mechanism to spray on their enemies when they feel in danger. What you may not know is that this black ink is edible.
The Squid ink is mainly made of melanin, the pigment that also makes its dark color and also the same thing that gives humans their skin color.
To learn more about it, you can visit this page that provides all the information about squid ink.
What does it taste like?
It may look unappetizing with its pitch-black color, but squid ink is actually tasty. It has a faint taste of squid and seafood flavor. Nothing too strong or too fishy, it's very delicate and elegant. That's why it can be used in many recipes, like risottos, bread, crackers, and of course, pasta.
Either in a squid ink pasta sauce or directly in the pasta dough like in this recipe. It will make each bite of pasta much more flavorful.
How to use Squid Ink
Squid ink or cuttlefish ink, is commercially sold in liquid form or dehydrated powder form, but if you cannot find it in your supermarket, you could also harvest it yourself from fresh squids.
The ink is situated in the head of the squids, between the eyes, so you need to be careful while you cut and clean your squids. Watch this video for step-by-step instructions on how to harvest squid ink.
The most common uses for squid ink are in pasta dough and risotto. Since it doesn't only give color but also flavor, be careful how you use it: You may think black bread would be cool, but do you really want fish-flavored bread? Unless you're going to use it as a garnish for fish, probably not. The same goes if you make squid ink pasta sauce (like the famous "Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia") or risotto, and serve it with a fish or seafood sauce.
Since it has a liquid consistency, you can easily implement it in many doughs or sauces. To make this black squid ink pasta, just mix it first with other wet ingredients before you add the dry ingredients to make sure the color will be uniform. If instead, you use the powder form, mix it with the dry ingredients first.
Instructions with Photos
Compared to the traditional regular pasta, like tagliatelle, in this case, to make fresh squid ink pasta, there is basically only the addition of one ingredient to make: squid ink.
Step 1. In a large bowl, add the flour, and a pinch of salt, and in the middle add the eggs and the squid ink. With a fork, whisk the eggs with the squid ink, then slowly incorporate the flour until you get a sticky dough.
Step 2. Knead the dough with your hands (I recommend wearing gloves for this step) for about 10 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
Step 3. Divide the dough into 2 to 4 pieces, take one, dust it with flour, and stretch it a few times with a pasta machine or a rolling pin until you get a thin pasta sheet.
Step 4. Then cut the sheet into thin ribbons to make the tagliatelle, but you can also cut them into other shapes to make squid ink spaghetti, or squid ink linguine (most pasta machines have a special attachment).
Let the pasta rest on a clean towel until it's time to cook it in boiling water.
If you enjoy making fresh pasta, check out also this extensive guide with step-by-step videos on how to make 10 different shapes of fresh pasta without a pasta machine.
FAQ & Tips
Yes, you can absolutely freeze raw fresh pasta. Make little nests of the tagliatelle, then place them on a plate lined with baking paper. Place flat in the freezer for about 1 hour, then transfer the frozen pasta to a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Toss directly in boiling water without thawing first.
If you don't want to use wine, you can skip it but the flavor of the sauce will be weaker (also keep in mind that the alcohol completely evaporates during the cooking).
I absolutely recommend fresh squids. They're much more flavorful and the meat is softer, while frozen squids are often flavorless and chewy. Ask your fishmonger to clean them for you if you prefer to skip that step.
You can store leftover cooked pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Reheat gently in a pan with butter or olive oil, or in the microwave.
You can find step-by-step photos, and tips in the post above.
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Squid Ink Pasta with Squids and Tomatoes
For the Pasta
- 1 ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ cup Semolina
- 2 Eggs
- ¾ teaspoon Squid Ink, liquid
- EV Olive Oil
For the Sauce
- 3 Squids, large
- 10 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- 3 Garlic cloves, halved
- ¼ cup White Wine
- Parsley, chopped
Make the Pasta
- In a large bowl, add both flours, a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix well and make a hole in the center.
- Add the eggs in the center and beat them with a fork, then add the squid ink to the eggs and beat until combined (if you prefer you can do this step in a separate bowl). When the eggs and ink are combined, start slowly adding the flour.
- When the dough it's too stick to mix with a fork, start kneading with your hands and knead the dough for at least 10 minutes until you have a smooth and uniform dough.
- Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Take a large wooden board and sprinkle with flour. Divide the dough in 4 parts and start kneading the first part again and flatten it with your hands.
- Roll it in the pasta machine starting with the wider settings and slowly reducing the thickness. Once it's thin enough, add the spaghetti attachment and pass it through.
- Set the pasta on a clean towel and sprinkle some more flour on top.
Make the Sauce and finish the dish
- Clean the squids and cut them into rings. Drizzle a large skillet with olive oil and turn on the heat. When it's hot, add the squids and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add the white wine and let it evaporate.
- Add the peeled and halved garlic cloves and the halved cherry tomatoes to the pan. Cook for another 10 minutes, turning down the heat if necessary.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and when the sauce it's almost ready, toss the pasta. Boil the pasta al dente for 2-3 minutes, then toss pasta in the pan with the sauce. Mix gently with a wooden spoon.
- Add a ladle or two of reserved pasta water to the large pan and sautèe for a minute. Add the finely chopped parsley and serve.
- TIP: Add some chili red pepper flakes to the sauce to add some spiciness.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.