Saturday, January 29, 2011

Spaghetti with slow-simmered squid

This is what I made to use up the rest of that package of frozen squid from Costco. I can safely say that frozen squid from Costco is not the greatest in the world. Squid can be cooked one of two ways: really fast (deep frying, as in calamari) or really slow (as in sauces). In between, it gets really rubbery, which is why a lot of people think they don't like squid--they've had poor-quality rubbery squid, and/or squid cooked incorrectly. Fresh squid, cooked properly, is a revelation.

Unfortunately, this dish was not revelatory. (Frozen squid from Costco falls squarely in the category of poor-quality and rubbery.) But it was still pretty good.

1 lb squid
olive oil
scattering of dried chili flakes
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (I used cilantro)
1/2 cup white wine
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes
1 cup fish stock (but you could use veggie, too)
4 cups or so spinach (I used fresh spinach, but frozen would work too)
salt and pepper

Cut the squid into rings and leave the tentacles intact. Heat the olive oil and add the chili flakes and garlic and let cook for a minute or two. Add the squid and the parsley/cilantro and cook for another ten minutes, stirring often. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti.
Add the wine to the squid and simmer until almost absorbed. Add the tomatoes (I squish whole tomatoes in my hand as I add them to break them up) and the fish stock, a little at a time. Let that cook down for a while.

At the very end, throw in the fresh spinach. Add the spaghetti, along with a little of the pasta water. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Cost: half of frozen box of squid, $11.99, so $5.99. Around $1.50 for a 28-oz can of tomatoes, if you catch them on sale, maybe another $1 for a pound of spaghetti. I used fresh spinach from my CSA, but a box of frozen would work just as well ($1). Everything else I already had in my pantry, including the fish stock, but you could make your own veggie stock for free. About $9.50 total--let's say $10 for a restaurant-quality dish with at least four adult servings, for $2.50 per serving. Olive Garden would charge you at least $16 for the same dish. (And their squid definitely isn't any higher-quality.)

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