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Cuttlefish Ink Pasta

Cuttlefish Ink Pasta

Cuttlefish Ink Pasta is fresh black pasta with chili oil, lemon and Parmigiana-Reggiano.

The Sauce: Ink Pasta Sauce – Fresh lemon, olive oil, chili oil, Parmesan cheese and parsley combine for a sauce to showcase the ink pasta.

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 


My first everything with cuttlefish happened when I was invited to test a recipe for The Washington Post last month. It was my first time buying cuttlefish, first time cleaning it, first time cooking it but also my first time harvesting cuttlefish ink.

The ink is a defensive mechanism used against predators. Released backwards, it causes a cloud to confuse the hunter’s view while the cuttlefish dashes away to safety. The ink is very dark brown-black and located in a sack between the gills.
It’s used in cooking as a coloring for pasta and sauces and has a mild ocean-ey, salty flavor. Kneaded into homemade noodles, it’s rich color creates a striking dark charcoal dish. Compliment it with fresh lemon, chili oil and grated parm. If you’re not cleaning a fresh cuttlefish anytime soon, find it online in small pouches, or try squid ink.

You may also enjoy Sesame Shrimp with Miso Dipping Sauce, Chesapeake Bay Crab Soup, Japanese Salmon with Dashi Udon, Fish Sticks and Fish Tacos.

2013 AniversaRecipe – Roasted Tomato Bisque and French Onion Soup
2012 AniversaRecipe – Soy Sauce Spareribs
2011 AniversaRecipe – Rockamole

Recipe: Cuttlefish Ink Pasta

Active Time: 40 Minutes | Total Time: 2 Hours 40 Minutes | Yield: 6 Servings

Pasta Ingredients3 cups flour, plus more for rolling
4 eggs
3 Tbsp cuttlefish ink
6 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup Parmigiana-Reggiano
drizzle chili oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Special Equipment – large pot

Eggs, Flour, Ink1 Place flour in a pile on the counter. Make a well. Crack the eggs into the well and squirt in the ink. With a fork, beat the eggs and ink until smooth. Gradually pull flour into the eggs ensuring the flour is absorbed before adding more. Once the mixture is too stiff for a fork begin kneading. Add more flour until the dough is Doughsmooth and pliable moving any excess flour to the side. The amount needed will vary depending on current heat and humidity.

2 Form in a thick round disk and wrap in plastic. Place in the fridge for 1 hour, then rest on the counter Roll Doughfor 1 more hour.

3 Cut the disk into quarters. Dust the work surface and place one piece on the flour. Keep remaining dough covered to prevent drying. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick using plenty of flour to prevent sticking.

4 Fold the dough a couple of times then cut to desired thickness. Unroll the noodles and let them rest on the counter or a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with the other 3 pieces of dough.

5 Cook pasta in a large pot of salty water until al dente. Place drained pasta on a platter. Add olive oil, lemon juice and gently mix to coat noodles. Sprinkle Parmigiana-Reggiano over the top, drizzle with chili oil and sprinkle with parsley.

The amount of flour needed to make pasta depends on the current heat and humidity.

The cuttlefish ink is a little salty so there is no need to add salt to the dough.

This makes a delicious pasta dish on its own merit. Serve as a side dish with cuttlefish.

Dish Designer

  • Exchange cuttlefish for squid ink.

Inspiration – Helen Horton
Cook with Sauces
Cuttlefish Ink Pasta
Written by
Photography and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: January 27, 2014

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2 Responses to Cuttlefish Ink Pasta

  1. Cheryl January 29, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    The ink part of cuttlefish/squid/octopi has always been unappealing to me, but I realize that doesn’t make it inedible. I was just never sure it was an aquired taste that I really wished to acquire. Sill, I might be willing to try it.

    Out of sheer curiosity (the likelihood of me needing to know this for practical purposes is virtually nil) — how much ink can you harvest from your average cuttlefish? This dish calls for 3 TBSP — is that more or less than one cuttlefish?

    • helenhorton January 29, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

      Each cuttlefish has about a tablespoon of ink. Thanks for asking.

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