EASY Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp & Cherry Tomatoes

This recipe for Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp & Cherry Tomatoes only looks fancy. It’s easy to make in under 30 minutes and the flavor is delicious! 

Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp and Cherry Tomatoes – Don’t you want to just dive right in? I’m overly obsessed with this dish. Those colors, that briny flavor, the little bit of spice…

But the best part of this dish? It’ll be on your table in under 30 minutes. 

First thing’s first…

ℹ️ What Does Squid Ink Pasta Taste Like?

Cuttlefish ink is what gives the pasta its gorgeous black color, it also gives it an amazing flavor. Squid ink pasta has a rich, briny flavor with the faint hint of sea saltiness, which makes it absolutely perfect for pairing with seafood.

I’ve found that the fresh squid ink pasta has the most flavor, while the dry pasta flavor is less noticeable.

✔️ Where to Buy Squid Ink Pasta

I have been able to find the black squid ink pasta at Trader Joe’s, Cost Plus World Market, or in some of the local specialty stores. However, if you’re having a difficult time finding it where you are, you can always substitute plain pasta, or order it on Amazon online. You can use squid ink spaghetti or squid ink linguini.

Three plates of squid ink pasta.

For this black pasta recipe, I made a simple sauce with cherry tomatoes, shrimp, basil, lemon and a pinch of red pepper flakes. I wanted to keep things simple so that the flavor of the pasta could really shine.

🛒 Ingredients Needed

  • Squid Ink Pasta – Trader Joe’s and Cost Plus World Market often carry the pasta. Or, you can order it online.
  • Shrimp –  Choose the size of your choice; shrimp usually come in colossal, jumbo, extra large, large, medium, small, and miniature. I used large (16-20 count) shrimp for this recipe and removed the peel and vein before cooking.
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Tomato Paste
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Or, you can add in a 12 oz. can of drained tomatoes.
  • White Wine – Or, dry vermouth. Or, you can leave it out if you prefer to not cook with wine. Simply add in a bit more lemon juice.
  • Red Pepper Flakes – Optional. Omit if you’re sensitive to heat.
  • Lemon – We’ll use the zest and the juice.
  • Basil – Fresh is preferred. But you can add in a pinch of dried basil too. Or, add in some fresh parsley.
  • Butter
  • Salt + Black Pepper

📋 How to Make It

  • Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.
  • Meanwhile, make the pasta sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium-high heat until hot.
  • Cook the garlic until lightly browned and fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook until dark red, 1 minute longer.
  • Add the tomatoes, wine, water and red pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until tomatoes are softened.
  • Add and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until light pink and cooked through.
  • Add the cooked pasta, butter, lemon zest + juice and half the reserved pasta cooking water. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the pasta is coated in the sauce.
  • Add the basil, taste again for seasonings and enjoy!
Squid ink pasta in skillet.

🌟 Tips for Making Squid Ink Pasta

  • You’ll have leftover tomato paste if using a can. Put those leftovers into a baggie and stick it in the freezer. Pull it out and thaw it under warm running water whenever you need tomato paste.
  • A zester is a super handy tool. Use it for zesting the lemons in this recipe, or for grating cheese or nutmeg.
  • If your sauce seems dry, add in more of the reserved pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.

→ FAQs

How long do you cook shrimp?

This depends on the size of the shrimp you use, but they likely won’t need to be sauteed for longer than 4 minutes. The large shrimp I used here only took 3-4 minutes to cook.

How do you know when shrimp are done?

You’ll know the shrimp are cooked when they turn from gray and translucent to a light pink color.

Can you use pre-cooked shrimp?

Yes! However, when using pre-cooked shrimp, you want to cook them for just about 30 seconds so they don’t get overcooked.

Can I make it without alcohol?

Yes! Simply omit the white wine. It will still be delicious without it, though you may want to add in a little extra lemon juice at the end to account for the tartness that the wine would provide.

🕕 How to Make Ahead & Store

This pasta is best eaten right away. However, if you have leftovers, they will keep in the refrigerator stored in an airtight container for a couple days. To reheat, warm gently on the stove or in the microwave.

Hand reaching for plate of pasta.

🍷 Wine Pairings

  • Opt for a lively white wine such as an Italian Verdicchio or a Pinot Gris from Oregon.
  • A light-bodied, acidic red wine such as a young, slightly chilled Chianti will work well with the tomato sauce in this recipe.
  • MORE —> the BEST wines to pair with pasta.

🍽 What to Serve with Seafood Pasta

🍤 More Shrimp Recipes

🍝 More Pasta Recipes

Overhead shot of plate of squid ink pasta.

Did you try this squid ink pasta recipe?

If you loved this squid ink spaghetti I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

For more great Platings and Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me on  InstagramTikTokPinterest and Facebook.

Overhead shot of plate of squid ink pasta.

Squid Ink Pasta Recipe

This recipe for Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp & Cherry Tomatoes only looks fancy. It’s easy to make in under 30 minutes and the flavor is delicious!
4.94 from 95 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces squid ink pasta
  • 1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic (thinly sliced )
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1/3 cup white wine or dry vermouth
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 lemons (zested and juiced )
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  
  • In a large skillet heat olive oil on medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1-2 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Add the tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until dark red. Add the cherry tomatoes, white wine, ¼ cup water and red pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until tomatoes are softened.
  • Cook the pasta to al dente, reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the pasta.
  • While the pasta cooks, add the shrimp to tomatoes; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until cooked. 
  • Add the cooked pasta, butter, lemon zest, lemon juice and half the reserved pasta cooking water to the skillet with the shrimp & tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, 2-3 minutes, or until the pasta is coated in the sauce; season with salt and pepper to taste. (If the sauce seems dry, add in some of the reserved pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Turn off the heat and stir in half the basil.
  • Garnish with remaining basil and serve.

Notes

This black pasta is best eaten right away. However, if you have leftovers, they will keep in the refrigerator stored in an airtight container for a couple days. To reheat, warm gently on the stove or in the microwave.
To make without alcohol, simply add in a little extra lemon juice at the end, if needed. 
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Nutrition

Calories: 570kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 315mg | Sodium: 1087mg | Potassium: 433mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 895IU | Vitamin C: 52.6mg | Calcium: 201mg | Iron: 6.3mg

This post was originally published in 2015. It was updated in 2023 to update the content. The recipe remains the same. 

140 thoughts on “EASY Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp & Cherry Tomatoes”

  1. I had squid ink pasta for the first time in Venice when we were there a few years ago — I fell in love with it, but have had a hard time finding where I live. Love how you kept this so simple – the flavors sound delicious and it’s just beautiful to look at! PS Jealous about Amazon local — wish we had it here in NC!

    Reply
    • I’m SO excited about this pasta AND Amazon Local – Hopefully it will be more widely available soon 🙂 So jealous about your trip to Venice – I would absolutely LOVE to go there someday – Bucket list!

      Reply
    • 5 stars
      OMG delicious. My husband had 3 helpings. I just dropped the butter by 2 tablespoons and it did not affect the flavor used strozzapreti black in pasta. It looked fabulous. Thank you a keeper.

      Reply
  2. I admit I’ve always been a little nervous about trying squid ink pasta. But this looks and sounds so good that I might try to get over my fear and do it!

    Reply
  3. Such an interesting and vibrant looking dish! I was always skeptical to trying squid ink linguini, mainly because of its color. Silly me 🙂 Paired with seafood and tomatoes looks so inviting. Thanks for sharing it.

    Reply
    • 5 stars
      Absolutely gorgeous recipe that takes me straight to the ocean. And that’s saying a lot since I live close to the sea. Used dill instead of basil and it really complimented the fishiness of the dish. The flavour profile is so unique. I’ve never tasted a pasta dish quite like this before. Have added this to my list of regular recipes. Going to try it with tuna and other seafoods too.

      Reply
  4. This is absolutely beautiful! It sounds delicious! You are so lucky to live in a place where you can find exciting ingredients like squid ink. Here in WV we are very limited in that area, but this dish looks amazing.

    Reply
    • It was a simple and easy recipe to follow. However, i think the juice of 2 lemons isnt exactly right. I juiced 1.5 lemon and even used slightly less and the pasta had such a sour taste. Am i getting it wrong?

      Reply
      • Hi Hannah – I’m so sorry that it didn’t work well for you. Lemons can definitely vary in size, so that could be the issue. I will attempt this recipe again, and provide an actual measurement for the amount of lemon juice and zest, that should help! (I used medium sized lemons.) Also, the type of wine you use can have an effect on the dish… Very tart wines, like Sauvignon Blanc, could be especially tart and sour. Do you mind if I ask what wine you used? Thanks!

        Reply
  5. What a beautiful dish! Would have to order the squid ink pasta, as I’m sure I wouldn’t find it around here — if only Amazon Now was available everywhere!! Sounds awesome!

    Reply
  6. Wanna hear something crazy? I have NEVER had squid ink pasta! Say WHAT?! Blasphemy for a chick growing up along the Pacific Northwest coast eh? I need to give this a whirl. SOON! Gorgeous photos, as always Erin!

    Reply
    • Hi Paloma – Thank you for catching this! I had revised the recipe to use white wine instead of clam juice (because who doesn’t want more wine!), but forgot to adjust the recipe accordingly. It has now been revised. However, you can always swap out the white wine for the same amount of clam juice if you prefer.

      Reply
  7. Omg I was in Japan and picked up some squid ink pasta…so I found your recipe and decided to try it. Love it! Simply delicious! Thanks you for sharing 🙂

    Reply
    • So glad you liked it Joey! This isn’t one of my most popular recipes, because I think people are a bit intimidated by squid ink, but I think it’s just delicious! So cool that your noodles came all the way from Japan too!

      Reply
  8. 5 stars
    I included a variation of this dish in an Italian dinner for six people at my house that raised $4,000 for charity. It was delicious…I used Scampi.

    Reply
  9. 5 stars
    That sounds fascinating! It definitely makes for a stunning presentation. I bet it would be good with Greek wines, especially those from Santorini. They tend to have a very sea-like, briny, flavor that seems like it would work great with this dish.

    Reply
  10. 5 stars
    Great recipe! Under 30 minutes is a little misleading. It’s less than 30 mins AFTER you’ve prepped everything, zesting the lemons, slicing garlic, chopping basil, etc. Still, quite tasty and will definitely make again.

    Reply
  11. 5 stars
    Just made this as per instructions and can’t fault it. The pasta has the sweet seafood taste of vongole, the prawns and tomato with the other ingredients are delicious. I added a bit of parmesan on top. Superb.

    Reply
  12. 5 stars
    Without a doubt THE best pasta dish I’ve ever made at home! Truly easy gourmet!
    First time I’ve had squid ink pasta and I can’t imagine having it another way now!

    Reply
  13. 4 stars
    I was pleased with this, but my cherry tomatoes were pretty well blown out by this cooking time, which meant that there were some annoying skins by themselves. If making again, I’d put them in with the shrimp, or cook maybe 1 minute ahead. (I also wish recipe comments were limited to people who made the recipe or who needed help on the recipe.)

    Reply
  14. 5 stars
    I just made this for my family and they can’t stop complementing the dish. I’m very inexperienced and it was easy and pretty fast! Thank you so much for sharing!!

    Reply
  15. 5 stars
    I saw the black cuttlefish pasta in my local deli so searched the Internet to find a recipe. I came across this one so purchased all the ingredients. Later on I was talking to my wife and told her what I was cooking tonight. There was a long silence. What’s wrong I said ? I don’t like that pasta; I have cooked it before and did not enjoy it. Anyway that evening I cooked the dish she went back for seconds and took the rest of it to work the next day. A fantastic dish and well worth getting all the ingredients thank you so much.

    Reply
  16. 5 stars
    This recipe is ah-mazing! I found that I didn’t need both lemons as long as you use one big juicy lemon and zest. Also instead of using the pasta water, I boiled the shrimp tails, shells, and heads and used that broth instead. I served with seared scallops and wine. Delish!

    Reply
  17. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe, made it tonight and would have been fantastic if only it didn’t taste only like lemon. Would recommend to halve the amount of lemon juice. It tasted like lemon pasta…

    Could the author recommend how much lemon juice in tablespoons to use please? 🙂 I’m going to make this again tomorrow but use maybe a tablespoon of lemon juice. Thanks!

    Reply
  18. 4 stars
    Was only making partial recipe and it was too thin. Will beef it up tomorrow. Love squid ink pasta! Just had some with a Blue Apron dish; ordered a big package off of Amazon. Will thicken up the leftovers tomorrow.

    Reply
  19. 5 stars
    A cousin gifted us some squid ink pasta, which I love, but had never cooked. This recipe looked the best and most doable. I loved it! Garlic and lemon to the front! Next time I’ll try Aerial’s tip on boiling the shrimp tails.

    Reply

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