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The Venetians are notably fond of cuttlefish; among the more popular dishes are seppie alla venexiana (or seppie nera), cuttlefish cooked in its own ink, and spaghetti al seppie in nero, spaghetti cooked with cuttlefish and its ink. You can also buy dry black spaghetti impregnated with the ink. Sometimes spelled sepia. In Grado they make a stew of them called sepe sofegae.

In Puglia they make seppie ripiene, cutttlefish filled with chopped mussels, capers, breadcrumbs and pecorino, and baked. Along the Adriatic in Emilia-Romagna, they bake it with tomatoes and peas.

The ink in the cuttlefish's sack (which the animal releases when it's frightened, to camouflage its escape) was often used for love potions in the old days, and as ink: hence the brown colour sepia.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Image by rfarmer