For my birthday this year, my dad gifted me with Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Doesn’t he know me so well? :)
To inaugurate the cookbook, I decided to make Marcella’s Squid with Tomatoes and Peas recipe. While I’m no stranger to preparing seafood at home — shrimp, fish, and mussels are regulars in my rotation — I hadn’t introduced squid into my kitchen. Boy, was I missing out! This dish is so easy and bursting with flavour. I was nervous about handling squid, but we bought pre-cleaned ones from the market and had them all chopped in a matter of minutes (fyi: this is a good step-by-step guide if you buy whole cuttlefish). So, in just one hour and with a single pan, we were enjoying what I swear is the best squid dish I’ve ever had.
2 1/2 lbs small to medium whole squid, or 2 lbs cleaned squid, sliced into rings a little less than 1/2 inch wide
1 1/2 tbsp onion, finely chopped (about half a small onion)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp garlic, finely chopped (about 2 cloves — but we live by the rule of always doubling the garlic :) )
1 tbsp chopped parsley
3/4 cup fresh, ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped, or canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with their juice
freshly ground black pepper
1 10-oz package frozen peas, thawed (or frozen, if you’re lazy like us :) )
Wash squid rings in cold water and pat thoroughly dry with cloth or paper towels.
Put the onion and olive oil in a large saucepan, and turn on the heat to medium. Cook and stir the onion until it becomes a pale gold, then add the garlic. When the garlic becomes lightly coloured, add the parsley, stir once or twice, then add the tomatoes. Stir thoroughly to coat well and cook at a steady simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the squid to the pot, cover, and adjust the heat to cook at a slow simmer for 35 to 40 minutes. Add a few pinches of salt, a couple grinds of the pepper mill, and stir thoroughly.
Add the thawed peas when the squid is tender (taste a ring to be sure it is fully cooked!), stir thoroughly, and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.
Taste and transfer to a warm, deep serving platter, and serve promptly.