I haven’t made this recipe for many years, but when I came across it in my files recently I remembered how delicious it was and decided to prepare it for dinner that evening. Basically, the dish consists of a spicy tomato sauce on top of pasta, and then crispy, golden rings of calamari are placed on top. To add another dimension of flavor, I sprinkle the dish with a little gremolata, or a mix of fresh parsley, garlic, and lemon rind all chopped together. The tomato sauce does call for hot red pepper flakes, but of course if you do not care for spicy food you could simply leave them out.
The recipe calls for a 28 ounce can of tomatoes, but my personal preference in canned tomatoes is actually Pomi brand which comes in a box and weighs in at 26.5 ounces. If you haven’t tried this brand of tomatoes, I highly recommend them, but any good quality Italian tomatoes will do. I do prefer to use chopped tomatoes rather than strained in this recipe as the chopped tomatoes are a better match for the calamari topping. I also used spaghetti in this pasta, but of course you could use any pasta of choice.
Deborah Mele 2011
- 1 (28 Ounce) Can Imported Chopped Tomatoes (See My Note Above)
- 3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Minced
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Sea Salt And Black Pepper
- Red Pepper Flakes To Taste
- 5 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil
- 1 Pound Spaghetti
For The Calamari:
- 3/4 to 1 Pound Cleaned Calamari Cut Into Rings
- 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Cup Semolina Or Fine Cornmeal
- 1/4 Cup Cornmeal
- Salt & Pepper
- Vegetable Oil For Frying
For The Gremolata:
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley
- 3 Cloves Garlic, Peeled And Minced
- Zest From 1 Lemon
- To prepare the gremolata, mix the parsley, garlic, and lemon zest, and chop together until well mixed and fine, then set aside.
- To prepare the sauce, heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and once hot cook the garlic until fragrant and sizzling.
- Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, and basil and cook for 15 minutes over low heat.
- Place the pasta pot on to boil and while the pasta is cooking, prepare the calamari.
- Mix together the flours for the calamari in a plastic bag and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan until it reaches 375 degrees F.
- Drop a handful of the calamari into the flour mixture and shake off the excess.
- Fry in small batches until golden brown and then drain on paper towels.
- Cook the pasta until it is al dente, and drain.
- Mix the pasta with half the sauce and stir over medium high heat until pipping hot.
- Divide the pasta into individual serving bowls, and then top with an additional scoop of sauce.
- Divide the calamari onto each bowl, and then sprinkle each with a little of the gremolata.
- Serve immediately.