OK, so I know I say this quite often, but this dish was super amazing. As I am finishing up my Feast of the Seven Fishes blog, there were a few recipes I wanted to add. This recipe for Spicy Calamari Pasta was one of them. Totally got my inspiration from a post I saw on Instagram from The Food Minimalist. Although, I did change it up slightly with the addition of bacon. Also, I left out the olives as the Hubby is not a fan. However, I do look forward to trying this recipe again with the Kalamata olives.
Feel free to adjust the spice level to your liking. We like spice, so I added a bit extra crushed red pepper flakes. Not only in the preparation, but also as a garnish. Per usual, I did not get a lot of pictures along the way. However, I did create a short video for TikTok and Instagram. Click here to view. If you have not yet signed up for TikTok, use my code 5SSIS800K0H06 to create an account.
Angel hair was my pasta of choice. However, feel free to use whatever pasta you wish. The recipe where my inspiration came from used rigatoni. For me, I just felt like angel hair took this recipe to a whole new level.
Also, if you are not much of a fan of calamari, feel free to substitute with shrimp, clams, or even a combination of seafood. Just note the cook time would reduce significantly for shrimp and/or clams.
LET’S TALK CALAMARI
You may be wondering, where on earth can you buy calamari? First of all, be sure that it is already cleaned. If you are local to Charlotte, you may be able to find tubes and tentacles at The Carolina Meat & Fish Co. They typically carry them in stock during the holidays. I was lucky enough to find a one pound frozen package in the seafood section of my local grocery store. You may also be wondering if there is a difference between squid and calamari. So, calamari is a type of squid. Calamari is by far more tender than squid. Click here for a helpful article to learn the differences.
Preparing calamari is kind of an art, in and of itself. There are basically two ways to cook calamari to achieve the desired tenderness. You either want to cook it fast, like you would for Fried Crispy Calamari or Fritto Misto. Or, low and slow, like we will do for this preparation. Any other way may result in that “rubbery” texture.
HOW TO PREPARE SPICY CALAMARI PASTA
Begin by crisping up the bacon in a heavy bottom pot or pan. While the bacon is rendering, rinse the tubes and tentacles. If you have an aversion to the tentacles, leave them out. The tubes may have a tiny piece of fin attached. You can remove, or leave on. It’s super thin, so no worries that they will adversely affect the finished dish. Cut the tubes into rings. If the tentacles are rather large, cut them in half. Reserve.
Once the bacon has crisped, toss in the minced shallots, garlic and your desired amount of crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for about two minutes, or just long enough to infuse the bacon fat. Try NOT to brown. Pour in the tomatoes (including the juice). Crush with a meat chopper or wooden spoon. Add the white wine and bay leaves. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Allow to simmer for about five to ten minutes before adding the calamari. Once you add the calamari, place lid and simmer for thirty minutes. Stir often.
About halfway through simmering, stir in the two tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley.
Prepare the pasta to al dente during the last few minutes of simmering. Do NOT forget to salt the water. If you notice that the sauce is too thick, add a touch of the pasta water. Remove the bay leaves. This is also where you would be adding the Kalamata olives.
Add the pasta directly to the pot, or drain (never rinse) and place in a bowl like I did. Ladle on this amazing sauce. Garnish with a few fresh basil leaves, fresh chopped parsley and a touch more crushed red pepper flakes (optional). Drizzle on a touch of a great quality finishing olive oil. Manni Oil is always my go-to. ENJOY this fabulous Spicy Calamari Pasta!
LET’S GET SOCIAL!
I am more than just recipes. I love fashion and style too! Most importantly, I love my Family (my Hubby and my Fur Babies). My Husband (aka my “Kitchen Bitch”) means the world to me. He’s pretty damn cool too. Not only is he one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, he also has had a lengthy career in professional hockey. Not only winning two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early ’90’s, but most recently winning the Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers, amongst many other accolades. If you live in Charlotte and play hockey, or have a family member who plays, be sure to contact him. He is known as one of the best skate sharpeners in the world!
Our life has changed dramatically in the past few years with the passing of our two goldendoodles, Vegas and Viva. We were lucky enough to have Vegas for five years (totally wish it was longer). Most recently, losing our Viva to a brain tumor in July of 2020. We welcomed our mini goldendoodle 7, almost seven years ago. We just added the amazing Hazel! Of course, I am always posting tons and tons of photos! Be sure to check out my recipe for Pet Bone Broth! This broth is super rich in nutrients and will provide your pet with a multitude of health benefits!
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