Squids in black ink with polenta

Squids in black ink sauce with polenta are a typical Venetian dish, to the extent that they are also known as Venetian style squids (seppie alla veneziana).
Preparazione: 60 min
Cottura: 20 min
Dosi per: 6 persone


Medium-sized squids , 900 gr
Celery stalk, 1
White onion, 1
Garlic clove, 1
Diced tomatoes, 4
White wine, 3/4 l
Extra virgin olive oil, q.s.
Stock fish (fumet), 1 glass
Salt & Pepper, q.s.


Our Chef’s tip: add the black ink when squids are almost ready, as it tends to thicken when heated up.

  • Clean the squids. Separate the head from the body and cut the tentacles that you'll find behind the eyes.
  • Gather 2 or 3 ink pouches and set them aside; get rid of the other ones or keep them for another recipe.
  • Remove the transparent bone, rinse the squids under running water and remove their skin. Cut them in slices 2 or 3 centimeters thin. Cut the tentacles in four parts.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan and gently fry the minced celery, onion and garlic. Add the tomatoes. Cook them for about 5 minutes, then add the squids.
  • Cook them for a few minutes over high heat, then add the white wine and the aromatic herbs. Let evaporate, lower the heat and add some black ink slowly passed through a small sieve.
  • When you reach the proper black coloring, adjust salt and pepper, then put the lid without completely closing the pan. Cook on low heat for about an hour and a half, until the squids are tender.
  • Stir from time to time. Pour some fish stock (fumet) every time the liquid evaporates.

Pour the white polenta when it is still soft. Place the squids with black ink sauce in the middle.


Fishing and the different fishing techniques in Venetian lagoon belong to an ancient tradition, which, in some cases, was handed down from generation to generation with no change, apart from the boat motorization and from the introduction of the nylon fibre for the fishing nets. Squids specifically  have always been a key resource for Venetian fishers and they still are an important branch of this activity today. Elegant dish with both clashing flavours and opposite colours, this recipe mixes an element typical of the fishing tradition (the squid) with a rural element (polenta). An excellent main course of the Veneto regional tradition, as good as easy to prepare.