Dark pasta and a white plate give Squid Ink Pasta with White Wine Cream Sauce a “black tie” effect. Super fancy, but also super easy and quick in time!
What's In This Article
Black Squid Ink Pasta
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Yes, this is black pasta.
Take a moment. Let it sink in. Squid ink pasta gets its color from the ink of a squid. People will also use the ink of a cuttlefish which is in the same family.
Technically speaking, squid ink pasta is vegetarian because the ink is an animal byproduct, much like egg or milk. However, it is not vegan.
After accepting the color, you will naturally think to yourself, “What does squid ink pasta taste like”?
Squid Ink Pasta Taste
It tastes just like the regular pasta you know and love, only this version has a little bit of a subtle briny flavor and just a little extra salt. No “fishy” taste here. The same as if pasta was boiled in really salty water.
You’ll see most black pasta in the form of squid ink spaghetti and sometimes artfully lined on ravioli or tagliatelle and other shapes. The black color demands to be noticed!
Squid Ink Pasta Ingredients
Besides fresh squid ink pasta, there are no special ingredients. All can be found at your local grocery store or might even be in your pantry.
- Squid ink spaghetti – Also sometimes called cuttlefish ink, you want this to be cooked to al dente. It can be hard to find, so I usually just grab mine from an Italian market/specialty shop or order it online. Sometimes you can locate it at Trader Joe.
- Large dry scallops – Make sure the muscle removed and they are patted dry. I prefer dry sea scallops and large shrimp, but you can certainly substitute chicken, beef or another seafood.
- Jumbo shrimp – Pasta with scallops and shrimp with pasta are fairly traditional, but did you know that in Italy, the thought of pairing seafood with any sort of dairy or cheese is unheard of. This recipe would also taste great with a pan fried fish like halibut or salmon, too.
- Garlic and shallot – Freshly minced garlic cloves and a large chopped shallot add so much flavor to this dish.
- Butter – We use butter to saute the seafood, but also mixed with flour to form a roux that is the base of our sauce.
- Flour – We need some sort of thickening agent for this sauce, and when mixed with melted butter and forming a roux, that’s exactly what flour does.
- White wine – This is really dependent on personal preference, but generally speaking a nice, crisp pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc works well in this recipe.
- Lemon zest – I love the brightness that lemon brings to a dish. The zest allows for flavor without being too overly citrusy.
- Heavy cream – This will be what makes this squid pasta sauce creamy. I like the contrast rather than a traditional red sauce.
- Crushed red pepper – You can omit this if you don’t like spice, but I like to add a little bit of heat to my pasta.
- Parsley – This is optional, but highly recommended due to the color and freshness that fresh parsley adds to the dish.
- Fine sea salt & pepper – I always like to use sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. You can add these to taste, and even add some red chile flakes for extra heat.
- Parmesan cheese – You can’t go wrong with cheese. Shaved parmesan cheese is my favorite to use and it’s the perfect match to all the other flavors.
- Grape tomatoes – Adding a little pop of color and also flavor, halved grape tomatoes are an excellent addition to this squid ink pasta recipe.
How to Make Squid Ink Pasta
Squid ink pasta is cooked just like any other pasta, in boiling salted water. Cook, stirring occasionally, to prevent sticking. You can also lightly toss in olive oil, if you desire.
Use the directions on the package because like most pastas, the cooking time will vary based on size.
- Cook pasta. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to pasta directions. No need to add extra salt, as this pasta has a salty taste. Drain and return to the pot, tossing with 2 tablespoons butter to coat the pasta and prevent it from sticking.
- Melt butter. While the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. When hot, add 4 tablespoons butter. Do not allow to get too hot or the butter will burn.
- Cook scallops and shrimp. Add scallops, searing on each side. Remove and set aside. Add shrimp, cooking until pink and slightly curled. Remove and set aside.
- Add shallots and garlic. Add remaining butter, shallots, and garlic, stirring. Then add flour, scraping up butter and bits to a paste.
- Pour in wine. While stirring, pour in white wine to deglaze the pan. Bring to a boil, reducing slightly.
- Add remining ingredients. Stir in lemon zest, heavy cream, crushed red pepper, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. Season with fine sea salt and pepper. Return seafood to the pan, spooning sauce over to reheat. The sauce should be a loose, creamy sauce, but not heavy.
- Spoon sauce over pasta. Divide squid ink spaghetti and seafood between bowls, spooning sauce over top. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese and grape tomatoes.
Just like any other pasta dish, I like to make a nice green salad and maybe a side of garlic bread to mop up any extra sauce in the bowl.
You can also make some of our favorite starters like a cheese board or even caprese skewers.
I also include small bowls of additional Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes on the table.
Storage and Freezing
Storage: You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay for up to three to five days.
Freezing: You can also freeze cooked pasta with or without the sauce. Let cool completely then add to an airtight container or freezer bag.
More amazing pasta recipes:
Squid Ink Pasta with White Wine Cream Sauce
- 8 ounces squid ink spaghetti
- 8 large dry scallops , muscle removed and patted dry
- 8 jumbo shrimp , patted dry
- 1 large shallot , minced
- 4 garlic cloves , minced
- 8 tablespoons butter , divided
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese , finely grated
- 2 tablespoons parsley , roughly chopped
- Fine sea salt & pepper
- Shaved Parmesan cheese , for garnish
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes , halved
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to pasta directions. No need to add extra salt, as this pasta has a salty taste. Drain and return to the pot, tossing with 2 tablespoons butter to coat the pasta and prevent it from sticking.
- While the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. When hot, add 4 tablespoons butter. Do not allow to get too hot or the butter will burn.
- Add scallops, searing on each side for 2 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add shrimp, cooking until pink and slightly curled. Remove and set aside.
- Add remaining butter, shallots, and garlic, stirring for 2 minutes. Add flour, scraping up butter and bits to a paste.
- While stirring, pour in white wine to deglaze the pan. Bring to a boil, reducing slightly.
- Stir in lemon zest, heavy cream, crushed red pepper, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. Season with fine sea salt and pepper. Return seafood to the pan, spooning sauce over to reheat for approximately 2-3 minutes. The sauce should be a loose, creamy sauce, but not heavy.
- Divide squid ink spaghetti and seafood between bowls, spooning sauce over top. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese and grape tomatoes.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings!
I think I have had this pasta. Cant remember if it was on a cruise or what. Never knew what it was.
I saw them make this on America’s Worst Cooks! Not sure my family would eat it though.
This looks really goo!d! Cant say I’ve ever had squid ink pasta I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it before now!
The colour of the pasta makes the dish so interesting to look at. It looks delicious and I bet it smells amazing too.
Squid Ink Pasta is a new flavor and color to me. I’m always game to try the veggie-colored pastas, so just may give this pasta a try.
We are going to have to give this one a try. It looks delicious and healthy.
I have seen squid ink pasta on the menu in a few restaurants but would never have thought to attempt it myself. I think the overall appearance is awesome!
Squid ink pasta looks like it would be fun to try. I don’t think i would have a problem eating black pasta.
Your white wine cream sauce sounds divine. Not sure about the squid ink pasta though.
Interesting dish. The photo reminded me of licorice at first glance. I love pasta so much, I’d definitely give squid ink pasta a try!
I’ve wanted to try a squid ink pasta for a while now. Now that I know it doesn’t taste fishy it’s much more appetizing to me!
I have never heard of squid ink pasta! Very interesting. I would surely give it a try!
I’ve never tried squid ink pasta before, but I’d certainly give it a go. It actually sounds really tasty.
I had no idea there was even such a thing as squid ink pasta. I guess they make something out of everything. Sounds like it tastes interesting.
LOVE love this dish! We followed it almost exactly (added capers like another commenter said, and didn’t have red pepper flakes so we used a pinch of Tajin) and it turned out amazingly. The balance of flavors is just to die for! The lemon zest really sets it off, and the tomatoes on top add the perfect tanginess and texture. 10/10, will make again.
Awesome! We love to hear that and agree that capers are a fabulous addition.
I had a pasta almost exactly like this is Downtown Disney before the Princess Half in 2014. It was divine and lighter than I would have thought.
I have never heard of this, but it sounds interesting. It would be fun to make this on Halloween and surprise the kids. I won’t tell them what it is.
Well, that’s the most interesting ingredient I’ve seen to date. I’ve never even heard of squid ink pasta. Thanks for sharing!
We don’t eat seafood in our house, but I bet there are a lot of people drooling over this right now.
My hubby hates seafood but he might actually eat this if it doesn’t have that fishy taste! Love it!
Your squid ink pasta recipe is fabulous. I love squid ink pasta, and I love putting shrimp and squid in it. This recipe is right up my alley.