Calamari in Tomato Sauce
Serves 6 to 8
1-1/2 to 2 pounds calamari (6 to 8 large ones), cleaned, bodies cut into one-inch squares and tentacles left whole or cut in half if they’re large
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¾ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
28 ounces peeled, canned Italian tomatoes, put through a food mill, or a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the calamari and toss for a minute. They’ll release a fair amount of liquid – around a cup. Spoon off almost all the liquid and cook for another minute to make sure the calamari aren’t releasing any more juice. (You can save the liquid and freeze it to add to seafood stock). Drain the calamari in a colander and wipe out the skillet with paper towels.
Heat the olive oil in the same skillet. Add the onion and red pepper flakes and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Push the onion to one side and add the tomato paste, toasting it for about a minute. Then stir it all together, clear another spot in the pan, and add the garlic, cooking for a minute or so, until you can smell the garlic but it’s not browned. Stir everything together and add the wine. Cook over medium-high heat until it reduces to just a couple of tablespoons. Stir in the tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Add the calamari and simmer, partially covered, for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. Add a little water if needed to keep the mixture from drying out or getting so thick that it sticks to the bottom (this can happen even in a non-stick pan). Taste a piece of the calamari after an hour to make sure it’s tender. If not, cook for another 15 minutes and try again. It shouldn’t take more than 90 minutes. Taste for salt, and add a little pepper. Stir in the parsley. Serve hot or slightly warm.