Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia (Squid Ink Spaghetti) – A Venetian Specialty Pasta:
Spaghetti al nero di seppia or squid ink spaghetti is a specialty of Venice and you can find this pasta dish in many authentic Venetian osterie or trattorias.
On our first evening out in Venice, I was surrounded by diners enjoying spaghetti al nero di seppia. The lone Asian guy at the next table was tucking into his pasta with such delight that even with a mere eye contact he communicated his enjoyment of the dish to me. I asked the more conservative American guy next to me and he too indicated that the squid ink pasta was fantastic. The next evening I finally got to order spaghetti al nero di sepia when dining at the Osteria ai 4 Feri, an osteria in Campo San Barnado in the Dorsoduro district.
Venetian Squid Ink Spaghetti
I’ve had squid ink spaghetti in restaurants outside of Italy but I’ve never seen spaghetti al nero di seppia served as black as the Venetian version and with such strong squid ink aroma. When the dish arrived, there was a strong whiff of sea tang and the pasta was coated in a black squid ink sauce. The spaghetti al nero di seppia at Osteria ai 4 Feri was absolutely delicious. The pasta was piping hot, but remained al dente, and there was a generous quantity of sliced braised squid in the dish.
Osteria ai 4 Feri’s dishes are served for two people and so Tony had this dish as well. A word of warning, before you leave the restaurant, check that your lips and teeth are not stained with the black ink sauce as you may well scare someone off when you smile in the dark.
Squid Ink Spaghetti
These days you can buy packets of dry squid ink spaghetti or tagliatelle, but it is the Venetian sauce that makes this dish special. When we went to the fish market at San Polo one morning, we saw all kinds and sizes of octopus and squids being sold and there was certainly no shortage of squid ink here.
I’ve seen recipes on-line for squid ink spaghetti, but none that I think will replicate the spaghetti al nero di seppia that I had in Venice. I think this is a dish that I prefer to leave to the Venetian chefs and enjoy on my next visit to Venice. However, if someone has a recipe that can produce spaghetti al nero di seppia as in the picture above, please do share.