Vermicelli al Nero di Seppie

Vermicelli with Squid Ink


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

Using really fresh squid is key here, as this will ensure the sweetest and most fragrant finished dish. The truly authentic recipe calls for strattu, an amazingly tasty sun-dried tomato paste, which is available in all good food stores and market stalls on the island of Sicily, but is less easy to find anywhere else. Good-quality concentrated tomato paste is the best substitute.


  • whole fresh squid with ink sac (around 500 g/1 ¼ lb)
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 whole garlic cloves, bruised
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 100 ml/ fl oz/scant ½ cup dry white wine
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp strattu or 45 ml/3 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
  • 400 g/14 oz vermicelli
  • sea salt and ground black pepper


  1. Rinse the squid thoroughly. Holding one firmly, grasp the tentacles at the base and pull the head and entrails away from the body. Cut off the tentacles from the head and set them aside. Discard the head with the hard ‘beak’ but retain the ink sac, which looks like a black vein. Peel the membrane from the body, then pull out and discard the ‘quill’.

  2. Cut the body of the squid into small cubes. Chop the tentacles finely. Repeat with the rest of the squid. Rinse and dry all the squid well.

  3. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large pan. Add the garlic cloves, fry until brown, then remove with a slotted spoon and discard.
  4. Add the squid to the garlic-flavoured oil. Stir in the parsley and plenty of pepper. Cover and simmer the mixture for 45 minutes.
  5. Pour over the white wine and add the strattu or tomato paste. Stir well and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  6. Lower the heat, cover the pan again and cook for a further 30 minutes, adding a little hot water as and when needed to dilute the sauce.

  7. About 15-17 minutes before serving, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta, stir and cook for 10-12 minutes over a medium heat until just tender.
  8. Meanwhile, add the ink sacs to the sauce and stir to mix.
  9. Drain the pasta thoroughly and return it to the pan. Pour over the sauce and mix well to combine. Cover the pan and leave the pasta to stand for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a platter and serve immediately.