Squid ink is for the fine dining lovers. If it makes you think of a mysterious, deeply black calamari risotto, served on the coast of a small island in the Mediterranean, then you are right. This seafood flavored and inky black delicatessen is often used in Italian specialties and prized for its unique flavor.

Today we bring you a fine dining Mediterranean dish with squid ink, couscous, and sautéed shrimps. You will love this recipe: not only it will bring a taste of the Mediterranean Riviera to your home, but it is also very healthy.

Bring your ingredients and get ready to feel like a Michelin star chef!

Recipe by Simona Novarini


  • 200 ml of water
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 6 grams of squid ink
  • 200 grams of Martino Couscous
  • 1 courgette
  • 100 grams of peeled shrimps
  • extra virgin olive oil as needed
  • salt as needed
  • 50 ml of white wine
  • fresh basil leaves


Hydrate the couscous
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add 200 ml of water, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and 6 grams of black squid ink. Bring everything to a simmer.

When the water is simmering, remove from the heat and sprinkle 200 grams of Martino Couscous. Make sure to distribute the couscous evenly and leave it aside for 4-5 minutes until all the water is completely absorbed.

Now the couscous should be fully hydrated fluff it with a fork. This will remove any lumps and separate the delicate grains without crushing them to give the couscous a light, fluffy texture.

Cooking the courgette
To begin with, thoroughly wash the courgette. If you have a young courgette you do not need to peel it as the skin is thin and will add extra flavor. Slice both ends off, and dice the whole vegetable. Scooping off the center with the seeds might help elevate the flavor but it is up to you.

Sauté the diced courgette in extra virgin olive oil until it becomes golden and soft. Remove and set aside.

Cooking the shrimps
For this recipe, you will need peeled shrimps. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add 100 grams of shrimps. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimps are bright pink and opaque (about 2 minutes). Raise heat to medium-high, and add wine. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper. After cooking dice half of the shrimps into smaller pieces and set aside. Keep the rest for decorating the dish.

Prepare to serve
Transfer the hydrated couscous into a mixing bowl. Add the sautéed courgettes and the diced shrimps. Mix the ingredients well and get ready to assemble your dish.

In a plate, place a metallic pastry ring and add the couscous mixture, pressing lightly with a spoon. This will make the couscous firm and will help maintain the shape when you remove the metallic ring.

When you remove the ring, add 2-3 shrimps on top and decorate with fresh basil leaves. Serve with white wine and your favorite salad.

Squid ink is very high in antioxidants, which helps to protect the cells and the heart against damage from free radicals. This means that squid ink might be useful in combating the visible signs of aging, heart disease and various threats to the immune system.

If you are hosting a special dinner this week and want to impress everyone with your cooking skills, prepare this fine dining recipe inspired by Italy and the Mediterranean cuisine. Paired with a fresh salad and white cold wine, the squid ink couscous with courgette and shrimps makes the perfect appetizer that will satisfy even the most demanding gourmand. Give it a try and don’t forget to subscribe to get all the Martino recipes directly in your inbox!

This recipe is simply brilliant. It is so easy, tasty, healthy and full of summer by the sea aromas. It will delight your guests and showcase the hidden chef inside you. Next time you want to impress, take this recipe out of your “drawer” and leave us a comment to tell us about your black squid ink experience!

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