Calamari is affordable, delicious, and sustainable, yet many
cooks shy away from it, since it has a reputation for being tricky to work
with. I should’ve said “unfair reputation,” because while it’s true calamari
can end up with a rubbery texture if overcooked, there’s a very simple way to
avoid this… by really overcooking it.
When it comes to calamari, it needs to be cooked in either
45 seconds, or 45 minutes, and nothing in between. If you sear it in a pan, or
poach it in a sauce for a very brief time, you should get something nice and
tender. However, after just a few extra minutes, the squid gets chewy.
Unfortunately, this is how most calamari is served, since it
is easy to overcook, even for a professional. But, if we gently simmer for
about 45-minutes total, something amazing happens. The calamari loses that
rubbery texture, and becomes tender once again.
I also think it takes on more a meaty flavor, which I love,
especially when using this to sauce pasta. So, if you’ve wanted to try cooking
calamari, but were afraid of over-cooking it, I really hope you give this easy
sauce a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion,
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Serrano chili pepper sliced thin
1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more if needed
1/2 cup drinkable white wine
1 cup clam juice
6 cups crushed or puréed Italian plum tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 pounds frozen calamari tubes and tentacles, thawed, sliced
into half-inch pieces
1/4 cup freshly chopped Italian parsley
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, optional
1 pound dry pasta
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