On one of our first dates, my husband ordered fried calamari at a restaurant. I was definitely unsure about it but finally worked up the courage to try it… it was actually good! Even though it was good in awful-deep-fried-PUFA-oils, I wasn’t sure I could handle it in any form that actually resembled a squid…
Fast forward a few years (and much higher grocery prices) and Calamari/squid is one of the least expensive wild caught seafood options. I found it on sale for $3 a pound at our local store and bought some with the resolve to figure out a healthy way to cook it. I did make a healthy version of fried calamari in coconut oil, which turned out great, but I wanted to experiment with other forms of cooking it.
After some browsing in an old Italian cookbook, this rustic calamari pasta seemed like a good recipe to adapt with healthy ingredients.
If you’ve never tried Calamari (squid), or have never tried it in any form that isn’t deep fried, I’d encourage you to branch out and try this recipe. If cooked correctly, Calamari can be delicious and tender. My kids actually loved this recipe and being able to see that they were eating “Octopus.” It’s definitely one of my more adventurous recipes but it is inexpensive and nutrient dense!
This recipe serves 4-6 people.
Yield 4 -6
- 1 pound of wild caught Calamari tubes and tentacles, defrosted
- 4 small sized zucchini or 2 medium
- 1 large onion
- 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil and oregano to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon of each)
- 3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil for cooking
- 2 tablespoons white wine to de-glaze (optional)
- If it isn't pre-cut, slice the calamari tubes into thin slices which will make rings and leave the tentacles in tact.
- Peel the onion and thinly slice into rings. Peel the zucchini and using a peeler (or food processor if you have one), slice the zucchini into "noodles." I just used a peeler and was able to turn them all in to noodles in about 5 minutes.
- Put 1 tablespoon of the butter or coconut oil in a large skillet and add the onion. Saute about 2 minutes until starting to become translucent.
- Add the zucchini and another tablespoon of butter/coconut oil and sprinkle with about half of the spices. Saute for another 5-6 minutes over medium heat until the zucchini is just starting to soften. You don't want it too soft at this point and depending on your stove, this may only take 2-3 minutes. If at any point during the cooking liquid starts to accumulate in the pan as it cooks off of the zucchini or mushrooms, carefully pour the liquid off. You should be able to saute and slightly brown the vegetables.
- Add the mushrooms and the squid with the last tablespoon butter or coconut oil. Add the rest of the spices. Saute 5-6 minutes or until Calamari is just cooked but not rubbery. Splash with the wine (if using) to de-glaze the pan and add flavor. Saute one minute and remove from heat.
- Serve immediately.
TIPS: You can also toss in 1 cup of pasta sauce at the end if you prefer a tomato based pasta, just omit the wine. If you don't use the tomato sauce, it is excellent garnished with a wedge of lemon to squeeze over the finished "pasta."
Have you ever cooked squid? What is the most adventurous thing you’ve cooked or eaten? Share below!