Pasta with Calamari and Bell Peppers


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.

Wine pairing


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.

9 thoughts on “Pasta with Calamari and Bell Peppers

  1. Absolutely, totally ‘my’ kind of dish and a somewhat new recipe to make – can’t wait! My favourite flavours and I could eat calamari every day !!! But, according to how we see it here squid and calamari are not the same: squid being very much cheaper and somewhat tougher, and calamari being about 4-5 times more expensive and more tender. Asked Mr Google and they actually belong to a different genus each . . . a couple of sites also called squid the ‘Italian calamari’ . . . hence ? . . . Since I have a lean pocketbook I am afraid I DO buy squid usually and, always in a hurry, tend to use the short method. Thanks . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Eha, fish names are always mixed up, especially internationally. Calamari and squid are both types of cuttlefish and what I meant to say is that you can use either for this recipe. I have now clarified the text. The quality may also depend on whether they are fresh or frozen (freezing makes them tender, but also reduces the flavor).


  2. Great dish, Stephan. My kind of food 🙂
    BTW, calamari and squid are not the same. Without getting too scientific, in the profession we call “calamari” the ones with fins along the whole side of the body. We call “squid” the ones with the short, pointed fins at the end of the body. We usually call the very large-ones cuttlefish, although that is not always scientifically correct.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Hans, what I wanted to say was that both calamari and squid can be used for this recipe. Thanks for pointing this out to me, I have now clarified the text. Both calamari and squid are types of cuttlefish.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a a great pairing, calamari and bell peppers and your recipe brings out the best of both. I tend to make pepper sauces in the summer when I can get them from organic farmers at the market. Next time I do, I’ll stop by the fishmonger and get some calamari, too. Thanks for sharing another great recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

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