Seppie Col Nero

Squid Cooked in its Own Ink


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This dish never fails to create a sensation when it is served, because it is so dramatic in appearance, being mysteriously black in colour. In fact, the squid ink tastes much less strange than it looks - the flavour is not actually very strong. These days, it is increasingly hard to find squid with its ink sac intact within the body of the fish. If you can’t find squid with its ink sac, you can buy the ink separately in small sachets, and this is perfectly fine to use for this recipe.


  • 800 g/ lb very young, small whole squid
  • 50 ml/2 fl oz/¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 90 ml/6 tbsp dry white wine
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • sea salt and ground black pepper


  1. Wash the squid, rinsing off any ink. Holding the body firmly, pull away the head and tentacles. If the ink sac is still intact, remove it carefully and set it aside.
  2. Pull out and discard all the innards including the long transparent ‘pen’. Peel off and discard the skin on the body, but keep the two small side fins. Slice across the head just under the eyes, reserving the tentacles. Discard the rest of the head.
  3. Squeeze the tentacles at the head end to push out the beak in the middle. Discard.

  4. Rinse the squid pouch and tentacles well. Cut the squid into rings or strips.

  5. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the garlic until softened. Add the squid pieces and cook to seal them on all sides.
  6. Add the wine and simmer for 45 minutes. If the mixture appears dry, add a little water.
  7. Add the ink from the sacs and cook for a further 45 minutes, or until tender. Season, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.