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Pasta with Calamari, Tomatoes, and Toasted Breadcrumbs

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Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 142

In Italy, pasta paired with mild-flavored fish is not usually topped with cheese, but breadcrumbs often take its place. Here, the crisp texture and toasty flavor of the crumbs complement the soft, sweet roasted tomatoes without overwhelming the calamari.

  • Kosher salt
  • 12 oz. linguine or spaghetti
  • 1-1/4 lb. cleaned calamari (squid) bodies and tentacles, bodies sliced into 1/2-inch rings
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes; more to taste
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint or basil; more to taste
Tip:
For tasty coarse breadcrumbs, whir an English muffin in a food processor

Position a rack in the center of the oven, place a large rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 475°F. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, toss the calamari with 3 Tbs. of the oil, half of the garlic, the pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Carefully pour the calamari in an even layer onto the hot baking sheet, and scatter the tomatoes around the calamari. Roast until the calamari is opaque, 8 to 10 minutes.

Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and the remaining half of the garlic in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring, until the garlic starts to color, about 1 minute. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes.

Toss the pasta with the calamari and tomatoes, and the mint. Top with the breadcrumbs and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 650, Fat Calories (kcal): 160, Fat (g): 18, Saturated Fat (g): 3, Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10, Cholesterol (mg): 330, Sodium (mg): 580, Carbohydrates (g): 81, Fiber (g): 5, Sugar (g): 4, Protein (g): 37

Photo: Scott Phillips

I made 1/2 the pasta with full everything else, and it was delicious. You could get away with less calamari, but I think the tomatoes and garlic would get lost with that much pasta. Added about 1/4 C pasta water to make it more saucy. The cooking method for the calamari and tomatoes is fantastic! Calamari cooked perfectly. Next time I would be sure my breadcrumbs were REALLY crisp, or just put them on top instead of mixing them in.

I substituted shrimp and scallops for the squid due to the dinner guests but it was well received and tasty. Seemed to need a sauce as it was dry at first tasting but everyone took second helpings

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