Monday, April 30, 2012


Quick sautéed squid with spicy marinara

When Vincenzino and I went shopping in the tiny fish market in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast in Italy he asked if we should pick up some squid.  I reflexively said, "No - yuck!"  I'm sorry I was so closed-minded about it.  Recently, Janel, a friend from the Y, told me about a calamari dish she had prepared and liked very much.  (Even calamari sounds more appetizing than squid.)  So I figured I would try out a recipe of my own.

Squid instead of spaghetti = squid-ghetti

I thought I'd do a do a quick sauté of the squid and serve it with a spicy marinara sauce.  Over the weekend I watched an episode of David Rocco's cooking show - and he was preparing squid.  He advised that you cut the squid into 3/4" rings - he advised that you don't make the rings to narrow.  I bought a little over a half pound of squid - which cost under $5 - and chopped the flat part of the squid into the rings.  I left the parts that look like small octopuses as is. 

Dry with paper towels

Despite never having cooked squid, I knew that it should be dry, so I blotted the excess moisture with paper towels.  After that, I dredged the squid quickly through flour and was sure to shake off the excess flour.  Ann Burrell of the Food Network advises that you quickly dredge items quickly and don't leave them for any period of time in the flour. I think lumps of flour can stick when you leave them sitting in it for too long. 

Dredge quickly through flour

Doctoring up jarred marinara

I wanted to cook everything in the same non-stick skillet so I started with the marinara sauce.  I love Mario Batali's cherry tomato sauce that comes in a jar.  But to make it my own I sauté my own cherry tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil.  When they are nearly done I add chopped fresh garlic. 

Set the tomato and garlic mixture to the side

When the tomatoes and garlic are done I push them to the side of the pan.  I crank up the heat, add some more olive oil and when the pan and oil are really hot, I add the squid.

Cooks in two minutes

As you can imagine, the calamari cook very quickly.  Swirl them around in the hot pan - mine took about 2 - 3 minutes to cook through.

Add the marinara

At the very end I add the jarred sauce.  I put it in a bowl and heated the marinara in the microwave and then added to the pan.  I dust it with red pepper flakes and squeeze a lemon into the mixture. The calamari were cooked and I didn't want to overcook them by cooking the marinara in the pan. 

Everyone in the pool!

Roasted asparagus

I'm trying to limit my carbs so instead of serving over pasta, I served over roasted asparagus.  It was really delicious and low in calories and fat.

Et viola!

But if you insist . . . the calamari tasted great over rigatoni, too


1/2 lb squid per person
1/2 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 cup flour (to dredge calamari through)
2 - 3 tbspns extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
1/2 cup jarred marinara per person
Salt & pepper to taste


Chop squid into 3/4" rings; leaving the octopus-looking pieces as is
Dry with paper towels - set aside
Chop the cherry tomatoes and garlic
Heat non-stick skillet, add 1 tbspn oil
Start with the tomatoes - swirl around in pan until they start to cook through
Add the chopped garlic - swirl around and set to the side
(You can push the tomato and garlic mixture to the side of the pan or put in a dish)
As you're ready to cook, quickly dredge the squid through flour
Making sure pan is very hot, add another tbspn or 2 of the oil
Quickly fry the calamari - it should only take about 2 minutes
Heat the jarred marinara in a bowl in the microwave
Incorporate the tomato and garlic
Add the marinara and mix everything together
Serve over roasted vegetables or pasta


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