Friday, December 17, 2010

December 17th- Calamari Pasta

     To my surprise, there was a big seafood sale at my local grocery store two days ago. They had a lot of things they didn't usually have, and so I felt like I needed to do at least one dish including a sea creature I usually won't be able to find.
     Lobster was to expensive this week, and snow-crab though absolutely delicious, well, I've cooked it before. which I cannot say for Calamari. My first idea was to stuff, then fry, then bake the squid, but in the end I realized it's been forever since I've had pasta.

     As a kid with an italian grandmother, I was practically raised on pasta. If I had to I could eat it 3 times a day for the rest of my life and I doubt I would complain all that much.
     I prepared a piece of Calamari before hand, to taste, and found it doesn't give up much flavor all on its own. Not to say its bland, but rather subtle. I had originally planned to make the pasta to match the Calamari, but in the end I decided instead to make the Calamari to match the pasta.
     Slightly cheesy, hints of garlic in each bite, and the occasional tomato kick made this dish one of my favorites to date. When subtle italian flavors meet the sea, this is what you'll find.

     The first few people that tried this pasta told me it wasn't moist enough, and needed more olive oil. To tell you all the truth, I was stunned. To me this dish is pasta at its very finest, but maybe my tastes are a bit dry compared to average. If that is your taste, please don't let me recipe stop you from adding some extra olive oil to please your pallet.
     But if you would be so kind...Try it my way first.

Here's what you'll need!

3 Cups Calamari
16 oz Spaghetti noodles
3/4ths tsp Cracked pepper
3 cloves Garlic
1/2 cup (plus more for sauteing) extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dried Basil (You may want to try it with half of a tsp first. )
1/3rd cup Red onion (small, thin slices)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (Halved)
1/2 cup Parmesan/Romano (I found a mix containing both.)
1 1/2 tbsp Butter
salt to taste

     No sauce? You are completely correct. instead of sauce I made some garlic oil to drizzle over the pasta. The name of this recipe is great taste with great subtlety. That is very difficult with the heavy zest of tomato sauce.

Lets get cooking!

     First prepare your pasta as your package instructs you. I like to add olive oil and salt to the water. If you've got any decent knife skills you should easily be able to finish the rest of your prep before the spaghetti finishes.

     Cut your Calamari into rings, chop your garlic, your onion, tomatoes, and measure out the rest of your ingredients.
     In a small pan, pour in your 1/2 cup of oil and heat on low. Add 2 of your chopped garlic cloves. 1/2 tbsp of butter, and a dash of salt. let simmer. Stir occasionally and give it a break if you see it begin to boil but you want to keep it on the heat through most of this recipe.

     Strain your pasta and set it aside somewhere it will stay warm. Keep that burner on high and switch your pasta pot for a frying pan. Drizzle the pan lightly with olive oil and  Add your Calamari ( Do not crowd the pan. You can cook it in 2, even 3 batches if you need to. just divide up the ingredients. ) Add your pepper and butter and a tiny sprinkle of salt. saute on high until the Calamari is ready to eat.
     Now it gets easy. Take your pasta and add the Calamari, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, Red Onion, 1 clove of diced garlic, cheese, salt to taste, and 4 tbsp of your garlic oil. Toss and mix very well, make sure everything is distributed as evenly as you can.
     The Calamari may make this difficult, but keep mixing and it will all come together in a few minutes.
     Plate the pasta and serve with a loaf of Italian bread if you've got it on hand. Just plain is fine to.
      But I really suggest the Italian bread. Yum.

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