Quick Calamari in Tomato Sauce

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *  Paleo ~~


I’m a Johnny-come-lately to the pleasure of calamari.  For most of my life if you had offered them to me – my automatic response would have been “If I wanted to eat rubber bands, they certainly wouldn’t be the fish flavored ones!”

I think I started to change my opinion at Carmine’s, a family style restaurant.  Someone ordered fried calamari for the table and insisted I try one.  OMG!  Who knew how delicious, tender, and non-rubber bandy they could be.  I couldn’t stop eating them…and now I dream of them.

But that was fried calamari…let’s be honest if you fried fishy rubber bands and gave me a delicious dipping sauce for them , I might fall in love with them too.  The transition to non-fried calamari came in a seafood cooking class.  One of the dishes was a squid salad and one of my tasks was cleaning the squid (which I was awesome at) and after doing all that work, I had to try the dish.  Okay, not love a first bite – but pretty good.

Fast forward to last week and I’m at the farmer’s market where the fish monger has fresh squid and some weird impulse seduced me to buy some.  I think it was more to see if I remembered how to clean them (the class was several years ago) then to actually eat them.  But here I am, a bunch of perfectly cleaned calamari and wondering what to do with them.  This recipe was my answer…and an excellent answer it was!

BTW if you want a really speedy version of this recipe, just heat up your favorite spaghetti sauce and stir in some calamari slices and cook a minute or two until opaque.

Of course I serve mine with zuchetti, if you are not paleo or gluten free, you can use any kind of pasta.

Bon Appetit!

Quick Calamari in Tomato Sauce

You could substitute clams, mussels, or shrimp for the calamari, just cook them until done (longer than the calamari).


1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14-15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (1 1/2 cups)

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons red wine

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons chopped basil

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Red pepper flakes to taste

4 small or 2 large (cleaned) calamari cut into 1/2-inch rings

Salt to taste

In a 1-quart saucepan, over medium high heat; heat the oil.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened.


Add the tomatoes, water, wine, orange juice, basil, thyme and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.cimg3353

Add the calamari and cook until the fish is just opaque (about 1 minute).  Season with salt to taste.

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Serve over zuchetti or pasta.


Makes: 2 cups   Serves: 2










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