Are you squidding me?

Legendary restaurant recipe

Michael Anthony’s: Tagliatelle al Nero di Seppia con Gamberi

Photography by Rob Kaufman

Michael Anthony’s is one of those restaurants that never disappoints — you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Since opening in 2002, the small family-owned business has evolved into quite the acclaimed culinary destination, earning five-star reviews, national recognition and numerous awards. Pasta is the symbol of Italian cuisine and tradition, and you won’t find better pasta than what is being made in-house in at this iconic South End institution. One of its most dramatic offerings is black tagliatelle. To make it, squid ink is mixed into the fresh pasta dough, turning it a gorgeous dark hue while infusing it with amazing flavor.   

“Squid ink pasta has a rich, briny flavor with the faint hint of sea saltiness, which makes it absolutely perfect for pairing with seafood,” said Becky Fazzini, who owns Michael Anthony’s with her husband, Tony. “We make it in-house, daily.”

The pasta shines in one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes — Tagliatelle al Nero di Seppia con Gamberi (squid ink pasta, local shrimp and heirloom cherry tomatoes in a spicy tomato cream sauce).

Michael Anthony’s – Tagliatelle al Nero di Seppia con Gamberi

This pasta and shrimp dish is easy to replicate in your kitchen. If you would like to use the restaurant’s fresh squid ink pasta, it is available at The Market Cafe – the Italian market and small-plate restaurant located right across the courtyard from Michael Anthony’s. Call ahead and they will cut it fresh for you.


1 pound squid ink pasta

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 teaspoons olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup puréed whole peeled tomatoes

10 ounces cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup white wine

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 cup chopped basil

4 tablespoons butter

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions [1] Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain pasta thoroughly. [2] In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Add the puréed tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently for about 1 minute. Add the cherry tomatoes, white wine, heavy cream and red pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until tomatoes are softened. [3] While the pasta cooks, add the shrimp to the simmering sauce; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp are translucent. Add the cooked pasta, butter and 1/4 cup of reserved pasta cooking water to the skillet with the shrimp and tomatoes. Toss until the pasta is coated in the sauce; season with salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce seems dry, add in some of the reserved pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency. Turn off the heat and stir in the basil and serve.

The perfect pairing

To enjoy this delicious pasta and shrimp dish, you will need the perfect wine pairing. Sommelier P. J. Myers suggests a medium-bodied red wine such as the Mastroberardino Aglianico. The bright acid, expressive fruit and dry finish of this wine from the Campania region of Italy frames the dish beautifully.

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