Squid Ink Pasta With Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

Squid ink pasta, with a light and flavorful lemon garlic butter sauce, is ready in only 20 minutes. Squid ink spaghetti elevates a classic pasta dish by incorporating a subtle briny flavor from the unique black pasta.

More popular pasta recipes: Penne Pomodoro, Pastalaya and Stuffed Ziti Fritta.

Black pasta next to salt, pepper and cheese.

What Is Squid Ink

Squid ink is what gives this pasta its unique and defining black coloring. Popular in Mediterranean and Japan cuisine, it’s added to the dough of the pasta before cutting and drying.

Squid ink is a black liquid pigment produced by squid, cuttlefish, and octopus, to protect themselves from predators. Squid, cuttlefish ink and octopus ink can all be classified as “squid ink”, legally speaking, as they’re all close relatives.

We’re highlighting the umami flavor of the pasta with bright flavors, such as lemon, garlic, butter and parmesan.

Ingredients to make lemon garlic butter sauce.

What Does Squid Ink Pasta Taste Like

Squid ink noodles have the texture and flavor of standard pasta, made with flour and water, with a delicious salty and briny flavor from the black squid ink. Black Squid ink pasta does not have a “fishy” flavor or scent in any way. 

Sauce For Squid Ink Pasta

A robust pasta sauce loaded with fresh lemon juice, garlic, butter, parmesan cheese, and white wine (or chicken broth) is the perfect pairing for squid pasta.

Squid ink pasta sauce needs to compliment the flavor of the noodles, not overpower it or mask it.

Side by side photos of lemon butter garlic sauce.

How To Make

This squid pasta recipe is surprisingly easy to make, considering how luxurious it looks and tastes.

Boil the Noodles – Boil the noodles in salted water to al dente.

Make The Sauce – Combine the lemon garlic sauce ingredients and cook until reduced by half. Then add the lemon and lemon zest.

Finishing Touches – Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Shave fresh parmesan cheese over the warm noodles and serve immediately for best texture.

Add In Ideas

Bulk up this pasta with any of the below seafood or vegetables:

  • Shrimp
  • Fresh Squid
  • Scallops
  • Cherry Tomatoes
Silver skillet filled with cooked squid ink pasta.

Where To Buy Squid Ink

Finding squid pasta is easier these days due to the rise in popularity. Whole foods and other specialty stores stock it, as does World Market and Trader Joe’s from time to time. If you’re having trouble finding it, you can always grab the same brand we use from Amazon.

Expert Tips

  • Make sure to only cook the pasta to al dente. You won’t want mushy pasta shells.
  • You must use fresh lemon juice. Bottle juice just doesn’t have the fresh and bright flavor required.
  • Swap out the white wine with chicken or vegetable broth (or Instant Pot Bone Broth) if you don’t have any on hand or don’t utilize wine to cook.
  • Omit the red pepper flakes if heat isn’t your thing.
  • Keep some reserved pasta water handy to thin, if needed. 
  • Due to the black coloring, this would make a great Halloween dinner option! 
Bowl of squid ink spaghetti in a white bowl.

Drink Pairings

Fruity Chardonnay, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Champagne

white bowl full of squid ink pasta.

Squid Ink Pasta

Squid ink pasta, with a light and flavorful lemon garlic butter sauce, is ready in only 20 minutes.
5 from 145 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 bowls
Calories: 617kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $12

Ingredients

  • 12 oz Squid Ink Pasta
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • ½ Tbsp Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • ¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes ((*Note 1))
  • ¾ cup Dry White Wine or Chicken Broth
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt + More To Taste
  • 1 Lemon, Juiced and Zested ((*Note 2))
  • 2 oz Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

  • Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • Black Pepper, To Taste

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water and 1 tbsp of kosher salt to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the "al dente" directions on the back of the box. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining. Set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and butter and let melt. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the wine (or broth) and salt and cook until the broth is reduced by half.
  • Add the cooked pasta, lemon juice, lemon zest and toss to evenly coat. Add the reserved pasta sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed.
  • Taste and add extra salt, to taste. Top with black pepper, grated parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.

Notes

Note 1 – Omit if spicy isn’t your thing.
Note 2 You’ll need about 6 Tbsp total of fresh lemon juice. We highly recommend not using bottled lemon juice. It will affect the fresh flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 617kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 456mg | Potassium: 158mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 329IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 192mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @foodieandwine or tag #foodieandwine!

Join the Conversation

  1. Avatar of Jane Emerald Jane Emerald says:

    5 stars
    I can’t express enough how much I enjoy the incredible taste of Squid Ink Pasta with its delightful lemon garlic butter sauce. The unique briny flavor from the squid ink spaghetti adds a captivating twist to this classic dish.

  2. 5 stars
    This squid ink pasta was amazing! Tasted like my favorite restaurant. So good!

  3. 5 stars
    I love the lemon garlic sauce! It’s so light but with a subtle flavor. pairs perfectly.

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious! Went a little heavy on the red pepper flakes but my husband fell in love!

  5. 5 stars
    We had amazing squid ink pasta when we were in Venice, and my husband wanted me to try this at home, and I’m so glad I found this recipe! The lemon garlic sauce was a perfect finish!

  6. 5 stars
    Made with broth, lovely ! Recommend including pasta water in the finish fior deliciousness.

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