Squid and Tomato

Paccheri con Calamari Stufati in Rosso

Squid are normally cooked for just a few seconds to keep them tender. Indeed, using ripe cherry tomatoes and a hot pan, you could make a sauce similar to the one below in a few seconds, but for this dish I prefer the richness of slowly braised squid. Cuttlefish would do just as well – both molluscs are very tough after cooking for more than a minute, but start to go tender again after a good, long braise.

Ingredients

  • 200 g paccheri
  • 500 g fresh squid (whole, or 300 g cleaned)
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon crushed dried chilli flakes
  • 400 g ripe tomatoes, diced (approx. 1 cm)
  • 100 ml white wine

Method

Clean the squid, removing eyes, mouth, entrails and skin. Leave the tentacles whole, and cut the bodies (leaving the wings attached) into wide, 2cm rings.

Fry the garlic in the oil until just about beginning to colour, then add the squid and chilli and a little salt. Cook until the squid is white and firm, then add the tomatoes and fry for a couple of minutes or until starting to break down. Then add the wine and 150ml water and simmer, uncovered for 1½–2 hours until the squid is deliciously tender again. You do want the sauce to be quite thick and reduced, but don’t be afraid to add more water if it dries out before the squid is done.

Boil the paccheri as usual, then drain and add to the sauce. Stir together, adding a touch of the pasta water if necessary. A great dish to accompany a nice glass of young red wine.