Black Squid Ink Spaghetti Salad with Tomato and Arugula Pesto Sauce


The cool nights of Fall are here. I find myself closing windows at night instead of opening them and pulling up that comforter on the bed instead of kicking if off. I’m sad to see Summer go, especially in my garden where the tomatoes are just about finished for the season.  But on a bright note I see a row of  sprouted lettuce seeds beginning to take shape a few feet away from the tired tomato plants.  I found a pesto recipe that used up almost the last of the San Marzano tomatoes I planted way back in May or first of June(?)  This easy recipe for spaghetti sauce could be used on any type of pasta but for some reason the packages of black squid ink pasta caught my eye at the market.  The perfect strands of thin black spaghetti are so appealing and the idea of them coiled up right next to bright red tomato slices in the salad made that package jump right into my shopping cart!   Yes, the striking color is beautiful but the briny flavor of the squid ink has it’s appeal too, there’s no doubt about that. If you’re put off by the black squid ink spaghetti bring home a different kind of pasta that’s new to you and just for the adventure- give it a try.  But, please try this easy tomato and arugula pesto sauce on the pasta of your choice.  This recipe makes a fantastic make ahead pasta salad perfect for entertaining but the pesto sauce is also very good served on hot pasta.  I added some texture  and additional flavor to my salad by throwing in some toasted almonds, bread crumbs and cheese in addition to the homemade pesto but it’s not really necessary as preparing the spaghetti with all the fresh ingredients in the pesto sauce alone would be delicious. Here are a few photos from my end of season tomato patch, as you can see there are still quite a few different varieties of tomatoes left on the vines, looks like enough for another batch of fried green tomatoes before the first big frost.  I’ve also enjoyed the different kinds of fresh basil I plant every Summer, a new one for me this year was the Greek basil which I added to my spaghetti salad.

Black Squid Ink Spaghetti Salad with Tomato and Arugula Pesto Sauce

Serving Size: 6

Adapted from Pasta by Williams-Sonoma.


  • 12 ounces San Marzano tomatoes, or Roma tomatoes
  • 3 ounces fresh arugula, for the 'pesto' sauce
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 17.6 ounces Black Squid Ink Spaghetti, I used Rustichella D'Abruzzo Spaghetti Di Nero Black Squid Ink Pasta (17.6 oz. pkg)
  • 1/2 cup almonds, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 3 ounces fresh arugula, for the salad
  • 1 ounce Greek basil leaves, for the salad
  • 4-6 San Marzano or Roma tomatoes, sliced for the salad
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Slice the tomatoes in half, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil- set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.
  3. While the pasta is boiling, place 3 ounces of the arugula in the bowl of a food processor with the tomatoes on top- with the motor running slowly add the olive oil, process, scraping down the sides until this mixture is smooth and creamy- check seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl, mix in the tomato/arugula sauce, saving a small amount to spoon on top for serving.
  5. Cool the pasta to room temperature- mix in the almonds, bread crumbs and cheese.
  6. In another large bowl mix together the arugula, basil and tomato slices for the salad.
  7. Place the arugula salad on a serving platter with the spaghetti mounded on top, spoon extra sauce on top, decorate with sprigs of basil and arugula.

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  1. This is just gorgeous! I’ve never tried black spaghetti, but it sure makes a dish look extra special!

  2. I love this spaghetti salad, Patty! The vibrant colors make it look impossible to resist, and I love all the toppings you added for texture, especially the toasted almonds and bread crumbs! Hope you have a lovely Friday evening :).

  3. Very lovely. That pesto sounds wonderful.

    I like the squid ink pasta with fresh corn, herbs and a light butter sauce. It’s much milder than pne would think!

  4. I glanced at this earlier but I did not have time to comment – love the layers of depth here – and no, I have never heard of this pasta but wow, so do want to … I can only imagine the experience and fun it must be in using it… Patty, I think this is just exceptional, as you know I would overload it with our seafood along with your Mediterranean flavors… I tend to over kill, but I would certainly love to experiment with these flavors … Have a great weekend my friend

  5. That pasta looks gorgeous and I love the photos of your garden, Patty! Have a lovely weekend – I hope you get a chance to try the piperade and eggs, too.

  6. o Patty, this is so gorgeous! From colours, flavours and textures….just marvelous!

  7. Gorgeous pasta!

  8. You had me at squid ink pasta and hooked me on the rest. My kind of dish, Patty. Pasta is on the menu for this weekend but I think your dish will be hard to beat. :)

    Have a great weekend!

  9. This is a beautiful meal, wow! The colors are breathtaking Patty!

  10. Whoa, is this gorgeous, Patty! I must pick up some squid ink pasta…I can only imagine the response I’d get from the family….LOL. Hope the brownies arrived safe and sound…Bill was sad to see them leave the house :)

  11. Fantastic recipe! Would love to make the pasta from scratch if I could get > town [Sydney Fishmarket] to buy fresh whole squid! People oft unncessarily get worried about squid ink: it adds colour and depth of flavour – lovely! Remember my own second wedding reception in a restaurant setting: our main course was squid braised in its own ink :) ! Since most of our guests were supposedly foodies, nobody dared say ‘boo’, and actually did so enjoy :) !

  12. The only place I find ink spaghetti is World Market and I wish I find it more often.
    Your salad is so beautiful, so jealous of your garden.

  13. This is such an eye- catching and decadent sounding dish.

  14. Patty – I have never ventured to try squid ink pasta. You make it look and sound amazing. Love the tomatoes from your garden. Having seen your garden you make the most amazing dishes from it. Hope your Sunday is wonderful.

  15. Lovely salad recipe and I’m glad you have all those colors going on, because I would probably pass on squid ink noodles left alone since they resemble earthy crawly things to me. I’m sure this salad was extra good being that the tomatoes are home grown. You do inspire me to get busy in the garden since I have plenty of room for it.

  16. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    Very squid ink spaghetti salad and perfect tribute to your end of summer tomatoes. I am so envious of those gorgeous tomatoes. I didn’t have luck trying to grow some here and will dream of yours instead;)

  17. I have never had squid ink pasta before. Looks gorgeous here with all the colors. I am getting ready for fall, but wish I could still have all the fresh produce from the garden!

  18. Wonder recipe….the colors are gorgeous, and sounds so flavorful. You have a beautiful garden…I am sad at seeing the summer leave too, and I don’t even have a garden.

  19. I love spaghetti salad and it’s even better with black squid ink pasta! I want to get these spaghetti to make our pasta day fun. I love squid ink pasta but only eat outside… gotta show my kids black pasta! :D


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