Calamari Stewed with Tomatoes

You can buy frozen, cleaned squid in the freezer section of many grocery stores. Defrost by placing in refrigerator overnight, or in a bowl of ice water. This recipe does call for an anise-flavored liquor, which you can leave out if you want, but the dish will be better with it in.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds cleaned calamari (squid), tubes sliced into rings and tentacles roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup Sambuca or other anise-flavored liquor
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fennel fronds, chopped

Method

1 Sauté onions, fennel, garlic: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and fennel. Stir to coat with oil and sauté, stirring occasionally, until it begins to color, about 5-6 minutes. Sprinkle some salt over it.

Add the garlic cloves and tomato paste and stir well to combine. Cook this for another 2-3 minutes, stirring once or twice.

2 Add the red wine, stir well, and increase the heat to high. Boil until the liquid is reduced by half.

3 Add the Sambuca or other anise-flavored liquor, and the crushed tomatoes.

4 Stir in the calamari and bring the pot to a gentle simmer. Simmer for at least 1 hour. After an hour, taste a piece of calamari; It should be tender. If it’s not, keep simmering. Check for tenderness every 15 minutes afterward.

5 Season to taste with salt and pepper: Once the calamari is tender, taste the stew for salt and pepper, adding if needed. Add the chopped parsley and fennel fronds. Stir well to combine and serve.