Claude learnt this Italian recipe for spaghetti with black sauce when he joined his grandfather to fish off the Western Australian coast. It’s basically a napoletana sauce with cuttlefish and their ink, which adds a dark iodine taste of the sea.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (35 votes)


  • 3 cuttlefish, cleaned, plus 1 large or 2 small ink sacs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 small red chilli, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 800 g tin Italian tomatoes
  • 750 ml tomato puree (or homemade passata if available)
  • 140 g tomato paste
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 kg dried spaghetti

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cut the cuttlefish bodies and tentacles into short, thin strips. Heat a frying pan over low heat and add the cuttlefish without oil. Cook, stirring, until the juices evaporate, then transfer to a bowl.

Add the oil to the frying pan and brown the onion, chilli and garlic. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Before the mixture comes to the boil, squeeze in the cuttlefish ink, then add the cuttlefish and simmer for 30 minutes.

Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water, then toss with the cuttlefish sauce.