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!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Calamari Pasta in Fresh Tomato Sauce

A light and flavorful pasta dish can be just as satisfying as those with heavier sauces—without the guilt. Squid meat is slightly sweet and mild, and cooks very quickly in just a little oil with some salt and pepper. If you’re not into tentacles, purchase just the cleaned squid bodies (or “tubes”).

I used stem tomatoes for this recipe simply because they looked so good at the market. You can substitute whatever type you choose—just plan for about 2-1/2 cups, chopped.

Tip: “Calamari” is simply what we call squid when it’s served as food.

Serves 4

  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • 1 lb squid, tubes (bodies) and tentacles
  • 5 tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup very thinly sliced green bell pepper
  • 2-1/2 cups chopped stem tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 tsp dried red chile flakes
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley and chives
Tubes and Tentacles
Prepared Sauce Ingredients
  1. Cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water until al dente, 8-9 minutes. Drain.
  2. Cut the squid tubes into 1/3-inch rings and cut any large tentacle pieces in half.
  3. 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. 
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and cook the remaining half of the squid. Transfer to the same bowl—do not wipe out the skillet.
Prepared Squid
Cooked Calamari
  1. Reduce the heat to medium and add 2 more tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic, shallot, and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until almost tender and browned in places, 3 minutes.
  2. Add the wine and cook, scraping up browned bits, 1 minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes and chile flakes and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down, 7-8 minutes.
  4. Add the cooked squid and 2 tablespoons herbs and stir to combine, 2 minutes. Add the drained spaghetti to the skillet and cook, tossing to combine, 1 minute.
Garlic Mixture
Wine Added 
Tomato Mixture Added 
Cooked Sauce
Squid and Herbs Added
Garnish with more herbs and divide the pasta among 4 bowls. Serve right away.

Calamari Pasta in Fresh Tomato Sauce

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