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Prawn Pasta with Squid Ink Spaghetti & Fennel

A classic prawn pasta recipe gets a dramatic makeover with squid ink spaghetti and the introduction of the mild anise flavour of fennel.

This dish tastes every bit as good as it looks and the earthy ozone hints of the black pasta shine through the simple classic flavours.

Prawn pasta with squid ink spaghetti fennel, lemon zest and chilli.

Squid Ink Spaghetti with Shrimp.

Spaghetti with shrimp or prawns is a really classic combination and whilst this recipe may look different it does not stray far from classic combinations.

I add a little fennel as that sweet anise flavour works so well with fish. I serve this pickled fennel and lentil salad with pan seared salmon all of the time!

Other than that we have chilli, lemon and garlic, really simple and traditional flavours, in fact, flavours also used in my prawn and pea pasta recipe.

The elephant in the room is that dramatic black pasta! The name gives away its source, it is pasta made with squid ink, genius hey?

It has a very mild flavour in terms of “fishiness” but it has the most luxurious and silky mouthfeel.

Of course, it also looks stunning!

It does not matter whether it is black pasta served with pepperoni and peas or squid ink spaghetti served with spinach and bacon it makes a real statement.

Overhead prawn pasta with squid ink spaghetti fennel and chilli.

What Prawns or Shrimp to Use.

I live in landlocked Hungary and as a result shrimp or prawns depending on what side of the Atlantic you live are not the easiest to source.

I always use frozen prawns and try where possible to get raw shelled and frozen. They are essential for a dish like my harissa prawns which you simply must check out.

But this garlic and chilli prawn pasta recipe works equally well with par boiled frozen prawns.

They just need cooking for less time, when I say cooking, they don’t really need cooking, just warming through. They are a great product and they feature in my 15-minute Indian prawn curry.

On the size, try and go for prawns either in the 16-20 or 21-30 count. This measure is the count of how many prawns you get per per pound.

Close up prawn pasta with squid ink spaghetti fennel and chilli.

A Guide to Seasoning.

This prawn pasta recipe lives and dies on its seasoning, like so many recipes really.

Salt has become a bit of a dirty word in some circles but this recipe needs a fair old whack.

Begin with your pasta, I always cook my pasta in 4 litres (4 quarts) of water give or take. Then I add a tablespoon of salt and a touch more for luck!

Then you need to season the prawns. I add a generous pinch, so thumb and 2 fore fingers into a bowl of coarse sea salt. It tends to measure out to around half a teaspoon.

Prawn pasta with squid ink spaghetti fennel, lime zest and chilli served on a black plate.
Yield: 2 Servings

Easy Prawn Pasta Recipe with Squid Ink Spaghetti

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes

Bring a bit of bling to your prawn pasta by adding some squid ink spaghetti, then add the classic flavours of chilli, garlic and lemon juice.


  • 1 Small Fennel Bulb
  • 250g (9 oz) Prawns
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 150g (2½ Cooked Cups) Squid Ink Spaghetti
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1 Tsp Chili Flakes
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt to Taste


  1. Bring a large pan of salted water to a rolling boil.
  2. Slice the fennel bulb as finely as you can, a mandolin is the best tool for this.
  3. Slice the garlic as finely as you can.
  4. Zest the lemon.
  5. Add the chilli flakes, half the lemon zest, the garlic and half of the olive oil to the prawns and season well with salt.
  6. Add the pasta to the now boiling water and cook for 60 seconds less than the packet instructions.
  7. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a high heat.
  8. Add the sliced fennel for 3-4 minutes tossing occasionally.
  9. Add in the prawns and then sautee for 5-6 minutes for raw uncooked and 2-4 minutes for par boiled and defrosted prawns.
  10. Drain the pasta reserving 2-4 tablespoons of the cooking liquid.
  11. Toss the pasta through the prawns and add the remaining lemon zest and the juice of half of the lemon.
  12. Add the cooking liquid to form a nice emulsion and serve sprinkled with fennel fronds if you have some.


Of course, you can make this recipe with regular spaghetti, simply cook it al dente exactly as this recipe outlines.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 517Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 264mgSodium: 1503mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 39g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Friday 20th of August 2021

This is exquisite, tastes as delicious as it looks. Grazie infinite!

Brian Jones

Saturday 21st of August 2021

Thanks Victoria, so glad you enjoyed it!


Wednesday 7th of November 2018

Just made this and it was absolutely delicious!! I had some squid ink scialatielli that I bought on a recent trip to Italy and it worked beautifully with this recipe. It’s a bit thicker than normal pasta with a bit of a bite to it. I doubled the lemon and garlic and olive oil because I love those. I possibly accidentally put in extra chili flakes as it had a real kick to it....I love heat but I could have held back a bit! And we added some capers just to see if they enhanced it.... it was delicious either way. Thanks so much! A real winner!!

Brian Jones

Wednesday 7th of November 2018

So glad you enjoyed it Anna, I love squid in pasta! I have to say that the levels of chili are so difficult to approach as a recipe writer, it is such a personal thing and all chili flakes will be very different in terms of their punch. I guess you will just have to make it again with less chili, bummer hey, teeheehehehehe.

BTW I can totally see the capers working wonderfully!

Katherine Hackworthy

Thursday 25th of January 2018

This squid ink pasta recipe looks delicious and definitely a must try! This recipe is simple but filled with rich flavors!

Brian Jones

Thursday 25th of January 2018

Thank you so much :)


Thursday 25th of January 2018

I have tried squid ink spaghetti in restaurants and I love it, but I have never made it myself. This looks really easy, so definitely something to try.

Brian Jones

Thursday 25th of January 2018

It certainly is simple, just like any other pasta really although if you over cook it hen it is particularly soggy but cook it right then it is glorious.


Thursday 25th of January 2018

I've never tried squid ink pasta before because I wasn't sure whether I would like the flavour. I'm happy to read that it has a subtle flavour and a lovely texture. The photos are gorgeous!

Brian Jones

Thursday 25th of January 2018

The flavour is very subtle indeed it is definitely there but one of those 'difficult to put your finger on' things ;)

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