Squid Ink Spaghetti with Rock Shrimp, Calabrian Chili & Lemon Pangrattato

Squid Ink Spaghetti with Rock Shrimp, Calabrian Chili & Lemon Pangrattato
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About This Recipe

Deep within the heart of wine country, where the Napa Valley vineyards meet the Pacific breeze, a symphony of flavors and cultures intertwine. While we often think of wine when we mention Napa or Sonoma, we mustn't forget the gastronomic wonders that pair so perfectly with those velvety reds and crisp whites. One such dish that resonates with the coastal spirit and European flair of California's wine country is the Squid Ink Spaghetti with Rock Shrimp, Calabrian Chili & Lemon Pangrattato.

Now, squid ink might sound adventurous for some, but its rich, briny flavor echoes the depths of the Pacific. When combined with the sweet tenderness of rock shrimp, it paints a picture of the shores, a place where the land meets the undulating waves. Add to this the fiery kick of Calabrian chili, and you've got a dish that not only speaks of the ocean but also resonates with the warmth of an Italian summer. And for that crispy zest on top? Lemon pangrattato, a breadcrumb concoction, binds the dish with a Californian touch.

But what elevates a dish from great to unforgettable is pairing it with the perfect wine. In wine country, this isn't just a suggestion—it's a ritual. Let's journey into this culinary landscape and uncover the wines that would make this dish shine.

Starting safely, a Pinot Gris, like the one from J Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma, would complement the dish beautifully. The citrus and mineral undertones of the wine mirror the zesty and oceanic elements of the spaghetti. Think of a sunlit afternoon in Sonoma, where the breeze carries whispers of the ocean, and you have this pairing.

For those acquainted with the classic choices of wine country, an Albariño is a match made in heaven. Not confined to the Iberian Peninsula, the grape finds a delightful expression in California. The high acidity and salinity of an Albariño, like that from Bokisch Vineyards near Lodi, sing in harmony with seafood. It's a duet of the briny nature of squid ink and shrimp.

Feeling adventurous? Take a sip of Vermentino. A grape with Sardinian roots, it has found a new home in the Californian soil. With its crisp acidity, citrus notes, and a hint of almond, it dances gracefully with the spicy and zesty notes of our dish. For a taste of this varietal, Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles offers a fantastic pour.

Now, imagine setting a table adorned with this delightful dish in the midst of the rolling vineyards of Napa or Sonoma. As the Pacific breeze rustles the grapevines and the sun dips below the horizon, each bite, paired with a sip of wine, tells a story. It's a tale of the California coast, of Italian summers, and of the rich tapestry of flavors that wine country weaves.

For those visiting Napa or Sonoma, embracing such dishes and their wine counterparts isn't just a meal—it's an experience. Be it the vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see or the pockets of culinary excellence dotted around, there's a world waiting to be tasted.

So the next time you find yourself wandering the paths of wine country or simply dreaming of a Californian escapade, remember that it's not just about the wine. It's about the symphony of flavors, the harmony between the plate and the glass, and the stories that unfold with each bite and sip.

This Squid Ink Spaghetti with Rock Shrimp, Calabrian Chili & Lemon Pangrattato is more than just a dish; it's a journey—a journey through Napa, Sonoma, and the very soul of California's wine country.

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Squid Ink

Nestled in our dish's title and undeniably vital in creating its enchanting allure, squid ink deserves a spotlight. Beyond the deep black hue it lends to pastas and risottos, squid ink is an age-old ingredient celebrated for its nuanced briny flavor. A staple in Mediterranean and Japanese cuisine, it evokes the ocean's essence in each bite. In the context of our dish, it bridges the tender rock shrimp's sweetness with the zesty pangrattato, creating an unmatched umami experience.

How to Perfectly Cook Squid Ink Spaghetti

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  2. Add the squid ink spaghetti, ensuring that it's fully submerged.
  3. Stir occasionally to prevent the pasta strands from sticking together.
  4. Cook as per the package's instructions or until al dente, usually around 8-10 minutes.
  5. Reserve a cup of pasta water and drain the spaghetti.
  6. Toss it immediately with your sauce, using the reserved pasta water to adjust the sauce's consistency if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I store leftovers of this dish? Yes, you can store any leftover Squid Ink Spaghetti with Rock Shrimp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. However, for the best flavor, it's recommended to consume it freshly made.
  • I'm allergic to shrimp. Can I use another type of seafood? Absolutely. While rock shrimp brings a unique sweetness, you can substitute it with alternatives like calamari, scallops, or even chunks of firm white fish. Adjust cooking times accordingly.
  • Can I make my own lemon pangrattato? Yes, lemon pangrattato is a blend of breadcrumbs, lemon zest, and seasonings. To make it at home, pulse day-old bread in a food processor, mix in lemon zest, a touch of olive oil, and season to taste. Toast in a skillet until golden.
  • Is there a non-seafood substitute for squid ink? While there's no direct substitute for the unique flavor of squid ink, if you're seeking the black hue without the seafood taste, you can explore vegetable-based black pasta made with activated charcoal.
  • What kitchen tools do I need for this recipe? A large pot for boiling pasta, a skillet for sautéing the shrimp and sauce, and a colander for draining the spaghetti are essential. A microplane or zester would be handy for the lemon pangrattato.

Tips for Success

  1. Pasta Water is Gold: Always reserve a cup of pasta water before draining. The starchy water is key to binding the sauce with the spaghetti, creating a restaurant-quality consistency.
  2. Mind the Heat with Calabrian Chili: Calabrian chili packs a punch. Start with a smaller amount and adjust according to your heat preference.
  3. Fresh is Best: Using fresh rock shrimp will significantly elevate the dish's flavor profile. If possible, source your shrimp from a local fishmonger or specialty store to ensure its freshness.

Integrating these pointers and insights will ensure that your culinary journey into the world of Squid Ink Spaghetti with Rock Shrimp is a delightful and informative experience, reminiscent of the very essence of Napa's gastronomic culture.

Recipe Overview

Squid Ink Spaghetti with Rock Shrimp, Calabrian Chili & Lemon Pangrattato
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 200g squid ink spaghetti
  • 200g rock shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 Calabrian chilies, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, for garnish (optional)

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Start by preparing the pangrattato. In a skillet, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs, stirring continuously, until golden brown. Mix in the lemon zest, season with salt, and set aside.
  2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the squid ink spaghetti until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and Calabrian chili, sautéing until fragrant.
  4. Add rock shrimp to the skillet, cooking until pink and opaque.
  5. Toss in the cooked squid ink spaghetti, combining well. If the pasta seems dry, add a splash of the reserved pasta water until the desired consistency is reached.
  6. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  7. Serve the pasta hot, garnished with the lemon pangrattato, fresh parsley, and if desired, a sprinkle of grated cheese.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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