Squid Ink Pasta with Pumpkin, Sage and Browned Butter

Side DishPasta and NoodlesPumpkin

Squid ink pasta tossed with sage brown butter and served in a baked pumpkin.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Okay, I know. This is one of those weird ones.

But if you are looking for something spooky and delicious for Halloween, squid ink pasta is perfect. Pair it with a bright orange pumpkin, and you are set!

What is squid ink pasta?

Have you ever had squid ink pasta?

It’s pasta that has been flavored (and naturally colored) with jet black squid ink. Which now that I think about it, doesn’t sound particularly appetizing, unless of course you’ve tried it. In which case you will go to great lengths to obtain and consume it.

squid ink pasta

Naturally black squid ink pasta

Squid ink pasta is absolutely delicious! Like, don’t-bother-me, leave-me-alone-while-I-savor-this, wow-this-is-good, delicious.

As for the specific taste? The pasta itself is only lightly flavored with the squid ink, so the pasta tastes like pasta, just really good. (How’s that for an explanation?)

Squid Ink Pasta with Pumpkin in Browned Butter Sage Sauce

I developed this recipe to be sort of like a deconstructed classic pumpkin ravioli in sage browned butter sauce, except that the pumpkin is on the outside, and the pasta with the sage browned butter sauce is on the inside.

To eat it, you can take a small scoop of pumpkin from the inside of the pumpkin and swirl it with a little pasta.

Do you like squid ink pasta? What’s your favorite preparation? Please let us know in the comments. I have more that I haven’t yet cooked, so I’m looking for ideas, thanks!

Squid Ink Pasta with Pumpkin in Browned Butter Sage Sauce

Squid Ink Pasta with Pumpkin, Sage and Browned Butter Recipe

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  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Squid ink pasta typically comes as either spaghetti or linguine; either will work fine. We dust the insides of the pumpkin with a little sugar, just to accentuate the sweetness of the pumpkin. You can use either brown or white sugar, or skip it all together.

Ingredients

  • 4 small sugar pumpkins, each about 1 pound to 1 1/2 pound
  • Salt
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons of white sugar, or 2 to 4 Tbsp of brown sugar (to taste)
  • 1 pound squid ink pasta
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh sage leaves (with a few small whole leaves for garnish)
  • A splash of apple cider vinegar

Method

1 Prepare and bake the pumpkin shells: Heat the oven to 350°F. Slice off the top quarter of each pumpkin and scoop out the insides. (Save the seeds to make toasted pumpkin seeds.)

Using a strong metal spoon or a small sharp knife, scrape all the fibrous insides out of the pumpkins. Sprinkle the insides of the pumpkins with salt and sugar.

cleaned out pumpkin shells

Set the pumpkins on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 1 hour, or until a fork easily pierces the flesh and the edges are lightly browned.

cooked pumpkin shells

2 Start cooking the pasta: Prepare the pasta water while the pumpkins are cooking. Bring a large pot of well salted water (it should taste like the sea) to a boil. When the pumpkins have about 10 minutes to go before they're done, add the pasta to the boiling water.

When the pumpkins are cooked remove them from the oven to a serving dish or plates.

3 Make the browned butter sauce with sage: While the pasta is cooking, prepare the browned butter sauce. Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and cook until browned bits begin to form in the butter and there is a lovely nutty aroma.

browned butter with sage sauce

Remove any whole sage leaves you are using for garnish.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the browned butter into a large serving bowl (this will stop the butter from cooking further). Browned butter can easily turn to blackened butter, which is not the flavor you want for this recipe.

4 Stir in the pasta into the browned butter sauce, add vinegar, salt: When the pasta is ready (al dente, slightly firm, but cooked through), use tongs to remove the pasta from the pot to the large bowl with the browned butter.

Allow some of the water from the pasta to drip into the bowl, it will help with the sauce. Toss the pasta with the browned butter.

Splash a little cider vinegar over it. Taste for salt, it will likely need a bit more, especially if you've used unsalted butter. Add more if needed.

5 Serve: Serve the pasta in the baked pumpkin shells. Garnish with reserved whole sage leaves that you had cooked with the sliced sage in the butter.

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Links:

Pumpkin Pasta with Squid Ink Sauce - from Salty Seattle

Babbo's Black Pasta - from Just a Taste

Black Pasta, Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Black Garlic Sauce - from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

Squid Ink Spaghetti with Shrimp and White Truffle Oil from Lemons and Anchovies

Wikipedia on squid ink

If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

24 Comments / Reviews

No ImageSquid Ink Pasta with Pumpkin, Sage and Browned Butter

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Megan Walsh

    5 star recipe! Made this tonight for a Halloween dinner. I bought squid ink pasta and was searching for a recipe online. I used 2 large fairytale baking pumpkins. I cooked for 1.5 hours. SO delicious, loved the sage brown butter, and the brown sugar. I served the pasta just like you said, in the pumpkins. Everyone loved the dish, saving to my recipes!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Patience

    Made this at work and everyone loved it! Used black bean pasta to make it vegan!

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  3. Karlette

    I made this last night, and it was delish! The recipe is so simple that I thought it might be bland. Was I wrong! I use squid ink pasta from time to time, but always with some sort of seafood–shrimp, crayfish, etc. Paring it with the browned butter and sage–in a pumpkin shell no less, brilliant! My husband raved about it! I will be making this again and again! Thank you.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Glitterati

    I love squid ink pasta! The first time I had it was at this little trattoria in Venice. I ordered not knowing what it was, and our very sweet server only spoke enough English to convey that it was a seafood pasta dish. Imagine my surprise when the plate arrived! But it was so delicious. I’ve tried recreating a “ghetto” version — just regular pasta, but tossed with warmed garlic, crushed red pepper, & tinned squid in its ink. Not quite the same as Venice, but still tasty. Looking forward to trying this creative recipe!

  5. JLE

    When I lived in Taiwan several years ago, I was intrigued by the black bread that many of the local bakeries served. Being adventurous enough to try anything (you have to be in a foreign country!), I quickly fell in love with these mini loaves with a crusty texture and such a unique flavour. It was months later that I found out the bread was flavoured with squid ink, much to my surprise! Living in Saskatchewan, I haven’t found any squid ink products yet, oh how I would love to have some black bread right now! Thanks for the reminder….. :)

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