Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Calamari and clam tomato sauce

Life is short. Do not take anything for granted. I'm so touched by Lis' story on how she uncovered her lost family recipe. Next time when your loved one cooks a favorite dish of yours, you may like to involve, or give him/her a kiss at the very least :D

Lis used fresh calamari, cleaning them is tedious but after you see her beautiful burgundy sauce, it worth! I just couldn't wait and grab the frozen one... I've told Lis it's not easy to get fresh calamari around here. Fish mongers in most supermarkets treat seafood like diamond placing inside a counter. But I need to touch, press, pinch and even smell that squids! Gross? If I got the stinky rotten to home that is real gross ;p Anyway, my recipe in the below is only a short-cut, Lis' sauce I believe is the ultimate!

It's only my first try, your advice is always welcome :D

Ingredients (yield for 6 -8 servings on pasta)

  • 2 lbs of frozen squid, thawed
  • 1 lb of clam meat, clean
  • (since I like the sauce a bit chunky) 1 can 2 lbs/ 1kg San Marzano Italian peeled tomatoes, diced, save the puree
  • 1 can (1 lb) Italian tomato puree
  • 10 oz/ 280g tomato paste imported from Italy (I found its flavor more intense than the local)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 carrot, chopped (optional, to add a bit of depth)
  • cracked black pepper, a small handful
  • sea salt


  • Heat a medium-large pot, add some olive oil, saute onion for a minute, add garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, the tomato puree, and 5 oz of tomato paste (and carrot) in the same pot, bring to boil. Add squid and clam. When the liquid boils again, lower the flame to simmer, put the lid on but leave it slightly open.
  • Simmer for 3 - 4 hours, In between stir occasionally, check the consistency, add water and/or the rest of tomato paste, and very often taste and season with salt. In the last hour of cooking, add a small handful (or to your taste) of cracked black pepper

My notes:

  • Since the frozen squids have not much taste, that's why I included clam. However, clam turned very rubbery after prolonged cooking. I may try to put them in the very end next time.
  • Lis's fresh squid's melt-in-the-mouth after cooking for 5 hours. Mine was still very tender after 2 hours, but turned grainy after another hour. I may cut down the cooking time next time
  • My frozen squid's imported from Indonesia, it looks stubby, not sure if they actually relate to cuttlefish. Any idea on that my friends?


Anonymous said...

This looks amazing! To be honest, I am not a huge fan on seafood with tomato-based sauces, but I may need to try this!

Regarding the clams - perhaps use clam juice for the sauce to get the flavour, then add the clams at the end?

Unknown said...

I simply adore your pasta dish, Gattina. Would love to have one 'mould' of that, please?? *slurp slurp* :p

Anonymous said...

Dear Gattina, your photos and writing style are so great they make me want to try this dish, even though I cannot eat it (I'm kind of allergic to some types of seafood). :D

It's really good to read recipes with the cook's notes, it gives us more chances to succeed in preparing it!

Anonymous said...

Your pic is so amazing that though I have never tried buying clams or calamari, I want to make this :)
Hugs to the cook :)

Anonymous said...

Your sauce looks absolutely delish! I like how it's chunky with good veggies and the beautiful clams! I really do hope you make it again after you go make that fish monger give you a good price on squid! hehee

*Hugs* sweetie.. thanks for the kind words :D


Anonymous said...

Your pasta is beautiful Gattina! Lovely! :)

As to improve the taste of the frozen meat, here is one of the trick I learn from an Italian cookbook - use some anchovies in olive oil. You can fry the anchovies with the oil to dissolve it before adding onions & garlic etc. I have tried using it with canned tuna in springwater to cook pasta. It helps! :)

Callipygia said...

Gattina, I know what you mean about Lis's sauce, looked delish. I can appreciate your attempts to get all that squid-y goodness with a short-cut method. Do you think a bit of ink could've been slipped in there as well? I've been dreaming of squid ink paella...

Anonymous said...

For a first try you have outdone yourself! I could just dip my fork right into that pasta and twirl!

Pooja said...

Hi gettina,
my first time here. such a loely blog you have ! i just love reading your posts and looking at all your pictures. specially of your kitchen , and the way you explained it is too good. ! :)
As am a complete vegeterian , I loved all the vegeterain recipes of yours here .
thanks for sharing .
will keep coming here for more.

Anonymous said...

Your photos are absolutely amazing! Just beautiful!

Anonymous said...

This dish is very italina style, brava!

Anonymous said...

Delicious recipe gattina. I always love the food combo you choose!

Anonymous said...

Can't tell which make me more hungry your words or the pictures! I need a fork!

FH said...

Hi Gattina,I am back.That sauce on top of the noodles is making me drool.Wonderful color and texture.Graet photo.

Gattina Cheung said...

Ellie, same sentiment! But I do like sardine in tomato sauce though. Thanks for your advice (clam juice), it's a lovely idea!

Angie, that mould quite large, I think you got to change *gulp gulp* hehee.

Pat... oh what happened? Did my switch to new Blogger affecting your sign-in name? Me too, like to see someone writing a reviewing or putting notes.

Mmm... another anonymous (my friend, blame to new Blogger!), thanks for your compliement. Hope your name will show without any problem next time.

Lis... one more anonymous... hug to you too! Without your inspiration I would have had such a good chance in trying all these wonderful ingredients! Yes, absolutely, I'll go for the fresh squid next round!

Anh, I love anchovy! It's one of my favorite ingredients in pasta! Thanks for the tip!

Callipygia, my squids were totally cleaned and packed. Ink is a good idea, I think Lis added some in hers, will take this advice when I do the fresh squids next round. Oh squid ink paella... oh garlic prawn... oh roasted garlic... oh a jug of sanriga... Callipygia, see what you did to me, hehee...

Ivonne, this sauce is lovely indeed. Thank for your kind words :D

Sher, *high five* squid, if you can strangle me, please do so!

Pooja, you have a lovely blog! I can go on total veg many days (no particular reason, just follow my body's needs), occasionally I feel like eating meat.

Kristen, thanks for your compliment!

Francesca, I agree too. Baci!

Bea, oh thanks! Come to seafood, I am happy with any combo!

Tanna, oh thanks!

Asha, thank you sweetheart!

Brilynn said...

I love seafood and now that I have 2 glowing endorsements for this sauce it has been added to my ridiculously large pile of "make this immediately" recipes.