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Welp, I went into my sweet local Japanese food store one day, and they had frozen calamari.

And I bought it.

And I used half of it in this pasta.

It was amazing.

Scared of frozen seafood?  Get over it.  Most of the stuff you eat in restaurants is previously frozen, and lots of sushi, even in coastal restaurants, is flash frozen and flown in from somewhere lovely.

Move on with your world.  Freezing is a nice method of preserving things when done correctly!

Sorry to yell at you on that one.  I just have precious little patience for folks who claim to only eat seafood at the beach when they have no idea where their “beach” seafood comes from.

If you’re one of those people, I have plenty of patience for YOU.

It’s the others that annoy me.

Moving on. This pasta is LOVELY.  The sauce is slightly spicy, slightly sweet, and so mild from some butter and the lovely calamari.

Also.  Calamari isn’t tough. I mean, it might be if you screw it up, but you won’t!  You just BARELY cook it and it’s tender and perfect and wonderful and all will be right in the world.

Now, of course, you could use this sauce with shrimp or some flaked white fish, but FIND some dang calamari and try it out – it’s a great way to fancify your at-home Italian endeavors without breaking the bank!

Here’s what you need:

  • Cooked spaghetti, enough for 4 (reserve some pasta water)
  • 1 cup frozen calamari rings, or 2 fresh calamari cleaned and trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup tomato juice or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup parsley, plus more for garnish
  • parmesan and bread, for serving, optional

Nice.  So.  I like to let the calamari thaw for 30 minutes to an hour, but you don’t have to if you don’t have time.  It’ll cook quickly even if you drop it in the sauce frozen!

While the pasta is cooking, heat a pan to medium heat and thinly slice the onion.

Add the onion, a sprinkle of salt, and a pinch of crushed red pepper with a drizzle of olive oil to the pan.  Stir that for 2 minutes.

While the onion is softening, chop the tomato.

When the onion is somewhat translucent but not browning at the edges, add the tomato to the pan.

While the tomato is softening, crush the garlic to remove the peel…

….and thinly slice it.

After 5 minutes the onion should be soft and the tomato should have started to break down.  Add the garlic and stir everything together for 2 more minutes!

Then, dump in the wine and the tomatoes…..

….and the sugar. Yum!

Stir all that together, and let it reduce for 5 minutes or so.  Keep some pasta cooking water or chicken stock nearby in case you need to add to the sauce!

While the sauce is simmering, chop the parsley.

Now, your pasta should be done!  Feel free to have someone check it if you can’t count to nine.

Stick it back in the pot you cooked it in, and add 1/3 of the sauce to the pasta.

Sprinkle half the parsley over the pasta, then toss the pasta with the sauce together. We’re doing this at this point so that the pasta is coated with some yummy sauce but the pretty calamari will be on top of the plate to show off its curves.

Or something.

So, back to the sauce.  It should be simmering, so you’ll have little bubbles, not big splattery ones.  Adjust the temperature on your stove accordingly!  Add the calamari, butter, and remaining parsley.  Stir that together, and add some pasta water or stock if the sauce is dwindling.  Let the calamari simmer for 90 seconds or so until just cooked through – it will turn opaque quickly.

Taste the sauce and add a bit more salt or sugar if you’d like.

Now. Serve. On each plate, top the saucy pasta with more sauce and calamari.

I like extra parsley on top….

….or maybe some grilled bread on the side….

….or you could go totally nuts and top this sucker with cheese, parsley, crushed red pepper, and olive oil.

Why not? It’s your dinner.

This is beautiful and delicious, guys. The sauce is thin and creamy and SO flavorful from the garlic, fresh tomatoes, and calamari.

Let me know what you think.  This is one of my favorites.  Enjoy it!

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