Squid isn’t for everyone, but those who like it, generally love it– I am one of those people.
In the summer, I make this dish as an appetizer; its perfect for entertaining and pairs really nicely with a cold blond beer. In the colder months, I toss this in a fresh pasta.
Pan Fried Calamari with Arrabbiata Sauce
[Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a meal over pasta]
- 3 to 4 large squid
- 2 tablespoons coarse salt (for cleaning calamari)
- juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 – 24 oz jar of crushed tomatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1-3 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes; use as much as you want
- 3 leaves of basil sliced thinly
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parmigiano or pecorino grated cheese
+ prepping bowls
+ cast iron skillet
+ large sauce pan
+ cooking oil
1. Most grocers sell calamari cleaned (innards and ink removed); if, however, your calamari needs to be cleaned, follow these instructions. Create a salt scrub (1 tbsp water, 2 tbsp coarse salt), and for the lack of a better term, exfoliate the body of the calamari until it is white and all the color is removed. Rinse under cold water.
2. Using a sharp knife, cut cross sections across the body of the squid– you’ll end up with calamari rings.
3. In a medium bowl, combine remaining calamri marinate ingredients; add calamari, cling wrap the bowl, and refrigerate. You’ll want to marinate your calamari rings for a minimum of 30 minutes.
4. While the calamari is marinating, make the Arrabbiata sauce: In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic and simmer for 2 minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic. Add crushed tomatoes, hot pepper, salt, pepper and basil. Reduce heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes.
5. Heat a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat until it gets HOT. Coat pan with 2 tsp cooking oil to prevent sticking. Drain any remaining marinade from the calamari rings, and spread the squid pieces in the pan and cook, tossing once or twice for a maximum of 1 1/2 minutes. Over cooking the rings will make them gummy and rubbery– you definitely don’t want that.
6. To Serve: Plate calamari and ladle the Arrabbiata sauce on top– pasta is optional . Garnish and serve with garlic crostini.