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Squid Ink Pasta with Prawns Fennel & Chilli

This squid ink pasta with prawns focuses on classic flavours paired with dramatic black pasta and it all cooks in just 15 minutes!

Portrait close up image of a squid ink pasta served with prawns, fennel, chilli flakes and lemon zest on a black plate

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 tradtional flaovurs.

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 simply 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.

Portrait overhead image of a squid ink pasta served with prawns, fennel, chilli flakes and lemon zest on a black plate

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 dish works equally well with cooked and shelled 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 something in the 21-30 count. This is the count of how many prawns per pound.

Portrait image of a squid ink pasta served with prawns, fennel, chilli flakes and lemon zest on a black plate

A Guide to Seasoning.

This 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.

Square image of a squid ink pasta served with prawns, fennel, chilli flakes and lemon zest on a black plate
Yield: 2 Servings

Squid Ink Pasta with Prawns Recipe

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

Bring a bit of bling to your spaghetti with prawns by adding some squid ink pasta and the classics chilli, garlic and lemon juice.


  • 1 Small Fennel Bulb
  • 250 g (8.9 oz) Prawns
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 150 g (5 oz) 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 3-4 minutes for cooked and defrosted prawns.
  10. Drain the pasta reserving 2 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.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 371Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 264mgSodium: 7022mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 37g

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!

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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 ;)


Thursday 25th of January 2018

I never had squid ink spaghetti before, but it looks delicious and interesting with the added shrimps. Your pictures are mouthwatering! ♥

Brian Jones

Thursday 25th of January 2018

Thanks Natalie