Nigella’s Pasta with Squid


In May, my refrigerator died. I was without a refrigerator for 12 days. It was awful. So what did we do? My husband and I went out to eat. A lot. We had to. It’s quite challenging to come up with ideas for meals when no refrigeration is available and it’s hot outside.

At first, it was fun for me, because it was a nice break from cooking. Until going out really got old.

To make things worse, I kept coming across more and more recipes that I wanted to prepare, and started to really miss cooking.

I never divulged that to my husband. Instead, I would make obnoxious comments, like “Hey, this is what most Americans do. They go out to eat! All the time.”

I guess when I think I might starve because I have no refrigerated food, pasta really appeals to me.

Specifically, there was a pasta recipe in Nigella Kitchen that got my attention.

It was simple, made with squid ring-shaped pasta, and containing squid rings!

I would have thought that no Italian would actually make such a dish, but Nigella actually had it at a restaurant along the Amalfi coast.

She does refer to the pairing as a “culinary pun,” but hey, if it’s served in Italy, she can put her recreation of it in her cookbook!

The calamari=shaped pasta I found is called Pasta di Gragnano; Gragnano is the area where Nigella had the pasta dish.

In any case, it’s now December and I’m finally getting to this recipe, which is actually good timing, because it’s totally festive! I might make it again on Christmas!

Quick Calamari Pasta
Slightly adapted

1 pound pasta, calamari-ring shape
1 pound cleaned squid, sliced, tentacles left whole
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 green onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh red chile peppers, sweet
1/2 cup vermouth
1/4 cup pasta cooking water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Handful of chopped parsley
Cayenne pepper flakes, optional

Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.

Heat the oil in a deep skillet. Add the green onions for one minute, then add the garlic and red chile peppers.

Stir well.
Add the squid rings AND tentacles and cook for about 2 minutes.

Pour in the vermouth and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the squid is tender and the vermouth reduced.

Add the cooking water and butter, then add the drained pasta to the squid and stir together well.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve!

I added a little more salt, and also included some cayenne pepper.

The next time I make this, I might remove the squid and vegetables before continuing with the liquids. That way it’s insured that the squid doesn’t overcook.

Plus, I’d love to try it with a little tomato paste and cream.

But it’s a delightful recipe, and classically Italian in its simplicity.

27 thoughts on “Nigella’s Pasta with Squid

  1. Fun recipe! I can relate. I’ve been without an indoor freezer for about a month and my replacement isn’t due ’til January. (There are 2 freezers in the garage, but it’s a nuisance. Thank god for the ice bucket we got for a wedding present 30 years ago!) That and other construction/renovation woes over the last few months have about driven me insane.

    • It’s awful. I’ve never gone through anything really major, but broken appliances are terrible. When we moved into this house I thought I’d never use this built-in ice maker. Now I can hardly live without it, and it breaks a lot!

  2. It’s really the pits not having a refrigerator, isn’t it? And eating out does get really old. Anyway, fun recipe — this looks excellent. Great way to use squid — thanks.

  3. That sounds really good (I find her recipes to be pretty reliable). But you are right, I have never seen pasta with just squid. Usually, it’s pasta and a variety of seafood.

    • I just had to make it because of the redundant shapes! I like her, too. I especially love how she doesn’t take food too seriously. She might dislike the really popular food bloggers – just a guess on my part – I heard her comment about the beautiful cakes on blogs once, and she said that she’d never even had two biscuits come out of the oven looking the same!

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