Calamaretti pasta with squid sauce
Cooking squid can be tricky because if you cook it for more than two or three minutes, you could end up with some chewy squid between your teeth! In general, I would stick to the rule of thumb that says to cook the squid for two minutes or two hours. For this “ragu’ di calamari” (squid sauce) I don’t take any shortcut and I advise you to take your time and give the sauce the two hours cooking it deserves. The end result will be a sauce packed with flavour, with the right consistency to perfectly coat and stick to the pasta. For this recipe I have used a pasta called “calamaretti” (it means little squid…what a coincidence!) because of its resemblance to the squid rings. However, traditionally, this sauce is used to top “paccheri” (a.k.a. schiaffoni) or “mezze maniche lisce” type of pasta (often available in specialist shops or some supermarkets).
Clicking on equipment pictures takes you to Amazon where you can buy the items. We get a small revenue share of anything you buy which helps keep the site running.
- 500 grams (1.1 lb) Calamaretti pasta (alternatively, use paccheri or mezze maniche lisce)
- 500 grams (1.1 lb) Baby squid
- 100 ml (4 fl oz) Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Cloves of garlic
- 1 Hot red chilli
- 75 ml (3 fl oz) White wine
- 1 Kilogram (2.2 lb) Ripe tomatoes
- 1 tbs Tomato purée
- A handful of flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
- 500 ml (a bit less than 1 pint) Fish stock
- Salt and black pepper for seasoning
- Take the squid heads and cut them in half.
- Take the squid bodies and cut them into thin rings. Put heads and rings into a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate for later use.
- Take the tomatoes and remove the little eye at their top. Then, score a cross on the bottom of each tomato.
- Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for 10-15 seconds.
- Peel off the tomato skin, using a small knife.
- Quarter the tomatoes.
- Remove the core/seeds from the quartered tomatoes. You should be left with just the petals. Discard the core/seeds.
- Cut the tomato petals into strips. From 1 Kg (35 ounces) of tomatoes, we should end up with roughly 500 g (18 ounces) strips.
- Heat the olive oil over a high heat. At the same time, put the fish stock into a small pan and bring it to a simmer.
- Add the garlic (crushed) and the chilli to the hot oil.
- Tilt the pan on one side; this is a good way to be sure that all the oil is evenly infused with the garlic and chilli.
- When the garlic turns golden, remove the garlic and chilli from the pan and discard.
- Add the squid (heads and rings) to the hot oil.
- Give it a good stir. At this stage, the squid will release lots of water so, keep cooking and stirring until the liquid is reduced by half.
- Then, add the white wine and keep cooking until the liquid is reduced again by half.
- Next, add the tomato purée.
- Give it a good stir so that the tomato purée is evenly dissolved.
- Now, add the tomato strips.
- Stir and keep cooking for few minutes.
- Now, add a ladleful of fish stock and stir.
- Cover with a lid in the way shown in the picture and lower the heat so that you bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer for about 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, the sauce will have reduced, so add another ladleful of fish stock and simmer for another 45 minutes. Every now and then give it a good stir and check that the sauce is not too dry; you don’t want to burn it!! If you need, you can still add, at this stage, half a ladle of fish stock.
- This is the sauce after 45+45 minutes simmering. Now, it is time to check the seasoning. Add salt according to taste.
- Add black pepper according to taste.
- If the sauce is too liquid, keep simmering for another 10 or 20 minutes, so that you achieve the right constituency. When I say right constituency, I mean that the sauce should stick to the pasta without being washed away.
- When the sauce is ready, remove the pan from the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Meanwhile, boil the pasta and be sure the pasta is cooked al dente.
- When the pasta is cooked al dente, transfer the pasta into the sauce pan with a slotted spoon.
- Give it a good stir.
- If the pasta looks too dry, you may add half a ladle of the water you have used to boil the pasta in and then give it a good stir.
- The calamaretti pasta with squid sauce is ready to be served. At this stage you can add all the chopped parsley into the pan and stir or you use the chopped parsley to garnish the dish at the end, as I did.
- Plate the pasta and enjoy this dish with a good and chilled glass of white wine.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!