No matter what age you are, you should never be afraid to tackle a new ingredient, and squid ink pasta is a safe place to start expanding your repertoire.

Squid ink dishes are having a moment in the culinary world, mostly for their striking color and extra dimension of flavor.

But despite the strong color, the noodles have a surprisingly neutral flavor; slightly saltier than standard egg noodles. Some varieties claim to have a faint hint of seafood flavor, as well.

Squid ink refers to the black, cloudy liquid that cephalopods  — such as squid, cuttlefish or octopus — release as a defense mechanism when being chased by a predator. It has deep pigmentation caused by melanin, a common organic pigment found in plants and animals. If you’re making your own noodles, remember, a little of this richly colored condiment goes a long way.

Squid ink is most popular in Italian and Spanish cooking, but it’s memorable appearance has made it a delicacy in many countries around the world.

In this dish, the red marinara and pale pink shrimp stand out against the silky black pasta, while red pepper flakes add a bit of heat.

Squid Ink Fettuccini with Shimp and Cherry Tomatoes

Serves 2; est. 30 minutes cook time


  • 12-14 medium shrimp (or 2 servings of whatever size you select)
  • 8 ounces of squid ink fettuccini
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 4 ounces of tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup water (more for a thinner sauce)


  1. Heat large pot of water, add salt and boil on high.
  2. Prepare the produce. Halve the cherry tomatoes, quarter the lemon, thinly slice the garlic, remove stems from basil and chop.
  3. In large pan, warm olive oil and add sliced garlic, salt and pepper. Let brown 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir frequently. Add water. Stir.
  4. Add cherry tomatoes and red pepper flakes and additional salt or pepper to taste. Stir and let simmer 3-5 minutes, or until tomatoes are softened.
  5. Add pasta to boiling water and cook until tender.
  6. Add shrimp to sauce and cook 4-5 minutes or until opaque or thoroughly warmed (if cooked and frozen).
  7. Remove pasta from heat and drain (save some water in case sauce needs thinned). Add butter and stir into pasta until melted. Remove seeds from lemon and squeeze 3 pieces over pasta.
  8. Add sauce to pasta and stir. Cook 2-4 more minutes.
  9. Turn off heat and stir in chopped basil.
  10. Squeeze last lemon piece over top of dish. Garnish with extra basil or lemon zest.
  11. Serve!




Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.