A Simple, elegant, and surprising dish made with lovely calamari, black linguine pasta, and a homemade Arrabbiata sauce spiced to perfection. There’s nothing like a seafood dish with a kick!
Calamari Pasta in Arrabbiata Sauce is a great way to spice up your next dinner. If you have always wondered what that black ink pasta tasted like but never got around to buying it, this recipe will make you buy it repeatedly! Many are scared of those ink meals because of their color. But I assure you, it just tastes like the sea. Since I’ve been living in Spain, they use the ink of cuttlefish for many of their traditional meals like; croquetas in their ink, the arroz negro (black cuttlefish paella), and much more.
This recipe comes from my cooking school and is simple, elegant, and fun. Well… we had to make the fresh ink linguine by ourselves, so in this case, to keep it simple, I’ve just bought a pack of dry black linguine pasta—this way, the Calamari Pasta recipe takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.
The taste of ink might worry some of you, but it doesn’t feel anything tarry, earthy, or bold. It tastes like delicate salty, mineral water or, more precisely, the sea. Although making pasta with fresh ink makes the sea factor more present, if you are comfortable making your own fresh pasta, you should make it for this recipe and add a tablespoon of squid ink or paste to your mix.
The Calamari, aka Squid
For this Calamari Pasta recipe, I’ve used pre-cleaned frozen squids, aka calamari. There is no need to defrost them either; when frozen and hard, they are way easier to cut into fine rings with the mandoline. Once cut, let 10 minutes pass, and you’ll see how fast those magically defrost. Finish it by simply drying them with a paper towel, and they are ready to fry. Frozen squid is super tender when fried quickly at high temperatures. The muscle fibers in the calamari break down when they are frosted, which leaves their meat super tender; the trick here is to fry fast and hard for about 3-4 minutes.
If you overcook them, it’s when they will get chewy… If this happens, you can always save them back by letting them cook slowly (let’s say, in this case, into the tomato sauce) until they become tender again, for about 10-15 minutes. So yes, calamari gets tender if cooked fast and hard or slowly and long.
The Arrabbiata Sauce (Spicy Tomato Sauce)
I’ve used Spain’s most famous “spicy” dried pepper, Guindilla, to make spicy paprika. It is still a moderately spicy pepper, which won’t overwhelm the sauce. Most Italian recipes call for red chili flakes to spice up their sauce, which could be more accessible for most. But any chili spice, sauce, or paste would do. The dosage is low, so there is nothing to worry about; it’s not on a 911 hot wings level; even a fragile palate can do this spice level.
Basil Final Touch
If you do not find those precise peppers at home, choose a mildly spicy or spicy chili pepper to spice up. Also, another aromatic for the tomato sauce is a single fresh basil leave, which you add at the end of cooking to give the tomato sauce a fresh touch. You’ll have to discard it before serving. This step is optional.
Other Seafood Pasta Dishes
Calamari Pasta in Arrabbiata Sauce
- 400 g ink linguini (dry)
- 400 g tomato purée
- 400 g calamari (Cleaned, whole and frozen)
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 1 Guindilla pepper (Or 1 tsp of chili flakes or hot sauce.)
- 30 ml olive oil
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 handful fresh parsley (chopped)
- 1 basil leaf (*optional)
- salt and pepper
- Start by cutting the frozen squid with the mandoline with a 5mm cut, and let the rings unfreeze on a paper towel for 10 minutes.
- Make a small cut on the dried Guindilla pepper.
- Add one tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan with the garlic, red pepper and Guidilla pepper (or chili flake) at medium-high heat for one minute.
- Add the tomato purée, sugar, salt, and pepper and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- When the sauce is well infused, stop the fire, add the fresh basil leaf, and cover.
- Let it infuse for another 5 minutes.
- During that time, cook the pasta in salty water following the instructions on the package.
- In a large pan or skillet, bring to medium-high heat, add two tablespoon of olive oil and the calamari, and stir for 3 to 4 minutes.
- When done, discard the basil leaf (if any), add the finely chopped parsley and pasta to the sauce, and mix.
- Serve the pasta, and then add the calamari on top.