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This squid ink spaghetti recipe takes dinner to the next level! With dried or fresh squid ink pasta in a fresh tomato sauce, along with juicy shrimp, garlic, white wine, herbs and tangy feta cheese, this sexy, savory seafood pasta recipe cooks in just 15 minutes.
Sometimes staying in for dinner has its rewards — this restaurant-level squid ink pasta delivers a huge bang for your buck. Quick-cooking shrimp, cherry tomatoes and a garlicky sauce laced with white wine and herbs feels extra-special to serve and eat.
I grew up in coastal New England, where squid is part of the local fishery, and calamari pasta and fried calamari are frequently on the menu. I love it!
This is one of my pasta recipes that doesn’t include any actual squid — just its black ink. It’s a stress-free recipe that comes together in minutes.
Ingredient shopping list
- Squid ink pasta: Available fresh or dried in long pasta shapes like linguine, spaghetti, tonnarelli and fettuccine, squid ink pasta originated in Italy. With the addition of ink from squid (or cuttlefish) to plain durum wheat pasta dough, this dramatically colored black pasta looks opulent on the plate. The squid ink doesn’t really add detectable flavor to the pasta, but sometimes I feel like it’s mildly briny nonetheless. It’s not at all fishy-tasting, but squid ink pasta happens to be delectable paired with all kinds of seafood and shellfish.
- Shrimp: You can use defrosted, frozen raw shrimp. I recommend extra-large or jumbo size shrimp that range in size from 16-25 per pound.
- Tomatoes: Small, sweet and juicy cherry or grape tomatoes add a gorgeous contrasting pop of color to the dish, plus they cook very quickly.
- Garlic and onion: These aromatics help the sauce smell and taste so damn good! Use fresh garlic for the best flavor.
- Herbs: Aromatic herbs like thyme (or oregano) pair well with the garlicky sauce, and fresh basil or parsley adds a colorful green garnish to the plate.
- Chili pepper: Crushed red pepper or more finely crushed Aleppo pepper adds subtle heat to the dish.
- Cheese:Feta cheese and shrimp are a classic Mediterranean match-up. The cheese is crumbled over the hot pasta and melts in, turning creamy and soft.
- White wine: Use any dry white wine (like pinot grigio) or rosé wine you enjoy drinking.
15-Minute Squid Ink Spaghetti with Shrimp
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 12 ounces squid ink pasta, spaghetti, linguine or other shape
- 12 ounces extra-large or jumbo raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ¼ cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio, or rosé wine
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup feta cheese
- Fresh basil or Italian parsley
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt generously — about 1 tablespoon kosher salt per quart of water. Some of the pasta water will be added to the sauce, so you want it to be well-seasoned.
- Heat the olive oil in a 10-12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, 2 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper taste. Lower the heat to medium to avoid burning the garlic, and cook until the tomatoes are softened and juicy, 5-6 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Scoop out and reserve ½-cup of the cooking water before draining.
- Turn the heat up under the skillet to medium-high. Add the shrimp, white wine and red pepper. Cook 3-5 minutes, until the shrimp become opaque and tightly curled, stirring them around in the sauce frequently.
- Add the cooked pasta and a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water to the skillet. Toss with tongs to combine with the sauce. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl or platter (or serve straight from the pan. Crumble the feta cheese over the pasta and sprinkle the basil or parsley over.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Use defrosted, frozen raw shrimp. I recommend extra-large or jumbo size shrimp that range in size from 16-25 per pound.
- Any dry white wine (like pinot grigio) or rosé wine you enjoy drinking is perfect to use in the sauce.
- If you have leftovers, reheat them on medium-high in a microwave until just warm, or in a olive-oil drizzled skillet. Be sure not to overcook the shrimp or they’ll turn somewhat rubbery. I don’t recommend freezing this pasta.