Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Calamari-Lemon Pasta

A light, fresh, and inviting pasta dish is perfect for warm weather—all the flavor and satisfaction of tender noodles in a scrumptious sauce, but without the heaviness of meaty pastas.

Here, the “sauce” is simply olive oil and fresh lemon juice. After the linguine cooks, adding a bit of pasta water to the sauce helps it coat the noodles, and that’s it—light, delicious flavor without much ado.

Just about any seafood will add great taste and texture to the pasta, but I think squid (calamari, when served as food) really does the trick in such a simple, no-fuss sauce. 

Here’s the thing about squid: It should be cooked in one of two ways—high and fast or low and slow. Anything in the middle can render it rubbery. For this quick pasta dish, it’s high and fast: 3 minutes in a hot pan, and done.

Chopped fresh herbs finish the dish with extra freshness—and pretty color.

Serves 4

  • 1 lemon, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 1 lb squid, tubes (bodies) and tentacles
  • 5 tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup very thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup very thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried red chile flakes
  • 8 oz linguine
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, oregano, and basil, plus more for garnish
Tentacles and Tubes 
Prepared Ingredients
  1. Cut 1 lemon half into very thin (about 1/10-inch) half-moon slices. (Reserve the other half for another use.)
  2. Cut the squid tubes into thin rings.
Sliced Squid
  1. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add half the squid and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until just cooked through, 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. 
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the remaining half of the squid. Transfer to the same bowl—do not wipe out the skillet.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add 2 more tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender and browned in places, 3 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, chile flakes, and about 2/3 of the lemon slices to the pan and cook, scraping up browned bits, until softened, 2 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the linguine in boiling, salted water until al dente, 9-10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.
  6. Add the linguine to the skillet along with 1/2 cup pasta water. Cook, tossing to combine and adding more pasta water as needed, 2 minutes. Add the cooked squid and 2 tablespoons herbs and stir to combine, 1 minute.
Cooked Squid 
Onion and Pepper Beginning to Cook
Garlic Mixture Added 
Pasta Added
Cooked Pasta and Sauce
Divide the pasta among 4 bowls and drizzle generously with olive oil. Garnish with the remaining lemon halves and chopped herbs and serve right away.

Calamari-Lemon Pasta

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