Spicy Calamari with Fregola

This was surprisingly easy [though it takes some time to cut up all that squid]. For two, we halved this recipe and it was plenty, and while the store we stopped at unfortunately had no fregola, we just subbed israeli couscous. YUM. Via NYT.

IMG_0584

  • 2 pounds small to medium calamari, tubes and tentacles cleaned, cut into 1/2-inch pieces [I only cut up the bodies, not the tentacles.]
  •  Salt and pepper
  •  Extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
  • 4 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  •  teaspoon crumbled saffron [I omitted.]
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup diced canned tomato
  • ¾ cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 cup fregola sarda (add another 1/2 cup for heartier appetites)
  • 12 basil leaves
  •  Pinch of dried oregano

  1. Spread the calamari on a baking sheet and pat dry as best you can with paper towels. Slice into rounds. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, wide skillet over high heat. Add calamari and quickly stir-fry, cooking for only 1 minute, until puffed. Remove from pan with slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Return pan to stove, reduce heat to medium-high and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add crushed red pepper, anchovy and garlic and let sizzle, then add onions and stir well.
  4. Season onions generously and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened and faintly colored. Add saffron and wine and simmer for 1 minute, then add tomato and broth. Adjust heat so sauce simmers gently for about 10 minutes, until flavors are well mingled. Taste for salt and hot pepper.
  5. Meanwhile, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil. Add fregola and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and keep warm.
  6. Add par-cooked calamari to the sauce over high heat. Add basil leaves and stir well until everything is heated through and calamari are completely cooked, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a warm serving bowl and fold in cooked fregola. Sprinkle with oregano, add a drizzle of olive oil, if desired, and serve.
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