Calamari and squid are both types of cuttlefish. You can use any type for this recipe. Squid can be cooked in two ways: either very short or very long. Something in between, and it will be tough. Since I was hungry when I was making this dish, I opted for the short method. But this recipe would be even better if the squid is cooked low and slow in the flavorful sauce. Squid works well with bell peppers, and in this recipe the sweetness of the peppers is balanced out by anchovies, capers, and olives. It makes for a delicious pasta sauce, that works well with any short type of pasta. One of my favorites is fusilli, because this shape absorbs the sauce so well.
For 2 servings as a full dinner (piatto unico)
300 grams (.66 lb) cleaned calamari/squid, about 600 grams (1.4 lb) gross weight
150 grams (.33 lb) short pasta, I used fusilli
2 red bell peppers, cleaned and cut into pieces about the size of the pasta
1 can (400 grams/14 oz) peeled tomatoes
2 Tbsp black olives, pitted, I used taggiasca
1 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp capers, rinsed and minced, I used salted capers
1 clove garlic, minced
3 anchovy fillets, minced
80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
To clean the squid, cut off the head just above the eyes. If you want to use the head and tentacles, cut just beneath the eyes as well and discard the eyes, then remove and discard the sharp beak as well and chop the rest.
Remove and discard everything that is in the cavity of the body, including the transparent skeleton and all the squishy stuff.
Remove the skin.
Cut the body into rings, and then the rings into pieces, about the size of the pasta.
Heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan over low heat. When the oil is warm, add a minced mixture of 1 garlic clove, 3 anchovy fillets, and a tablespoon of rinsed capers. Stir over low heat until the anchovies have melted.
Add 2 bell peppers and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
If you’d like to cook the squid low and slow, this is where to add the squid as well.
Increase the heat to medium-high and stir until the bell peppers are coated with the other stuff.
Add 80 ml of dry white wine.
Put a can of peeled tomatoes (not the can, just the tomatoes) and two tablespoons of black pitted olives in a food processor, and process until this is turned into a coarse puree.
Add the tomato and olive mixture to the peppers.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Stir now and then.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add salt and the pasta, and set the timer for the time indicated on the package for al dente.
Keep simmering the sauce over low heat until it has a nice thick consistency.
If cooking the squid quickly, add it to the sauce just a couple of minutes before the pasta is ready.
Stir and allow to cook over low heat for just a minute. Alternatively, if you were cooking the squid low and slow, keep simmering until the squid is tender. This could take anywhere between 45 and 90 minutes.
When the pasta is al dente, drain, and add to the sauce together with a tablespoon of minced parsley.
Stir until the pasta is coated with the sauce.
Serve at once on preheated plates.
This Italian dish calls for an Italian white wine. As it is quite flavorful, a wine from the south such as a Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo or Vermentino di Gallura would be a great match.
Pietracupa Fiano di Avellino 2012
- 100% fiano, made in stainless steel
- Color: lightly golden as it has aged a bit
- Nose: slightly aged, pear
- Flavor: full-bodied with a good freshness, well balanced
- Conclusion: ****
- Pairing: ****1/2, the dish brings out more complexity in the wine
Although I’m usually more into authentic traditional dishes, sometimes a bit of fusion works surprisingly well, like this hot-smoked halibut with guacamole. The flavors and textures are a very good combination.