You've likely heard that calamari needs to be cooked for a minute--or for a very long time. Here's why: When you cook squid rapidly (just to heat it through), you're not doing much to transform the collagen from its tender native state. If you cook it just a moment too long, the collagen starts to denature, strands unravel, and you get rubber bands. At this point, you must shift to a longer cooking mode. Add some acid from tomatoes, and a long, low and slow braise, and you get hydrolyzed, tender collagen. And that's delicious.
2 pounds squid, tubes cut into 1/4-inch slices and tentacles
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup julienne cut sweet onion
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 Fresno chiles or other mild red chiles, thinly sliced
1 cup red wine
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces thin spaghetti
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
How to Make It
SAUTE THE SQUID
Dry the squid well on paper towels.
Heat a Dutch oven to medium-high for about 3 minutes. A constant, well distributed medium-high is always better and more controllable than screaming high heat.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and immediately add half of the squid.
Sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, almost as if to stir-fry. Get some color on them.
Place cooked squid in a large Dutch oven.
Cook the rest of the squid: add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, and sauté 2 to 3 minutes.
Move the second batch of cooked squid to the Dutch oven.
USE VEGETABLES TO CREATE A SAUCE
Return the pan to the heat and reduce the temperature to medium. Add the onion, the garlic, and the chiles. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or until slightly soft.
Add the wine to the pan. Cook 3 minutes or until reduced by half.
Add the reduced wine to the squid, along with the tomatoes, the lemon zest, the red pepper, and the salt. Stir to incorporate.
Bring the squid mixture to a boil. Only for a moment.
Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer, but don't boil, for an hour and 15 minutes.
COOK THE PASTA
While the squid is simmering, cook the spaghetti for 6 minutes. Drain it well. There's plenty of sauce, and you don't want to dilute it.
Add the pasta to the squid for the last 5 minutes of its cooking time.
The squid should be tender at this moment. Turn off the heat.
Stir in the lemon juice, half of the parsley, and the black pepper. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with the remaining half of the parsley, and serve while still piping hot.
Cooking Light Mad Delicious
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