Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble
|No, I wasn't concocting a brew made of baboon blood and toad's eyes. Although, that might have been a good idea to ward away the snifflies I've caught this weekend. *sniff*|
I can't truly vouch for how good this dinner was myself, as my tasters feel as if they are covered with a thin sheet of visquene, but Hubbs raved about it. Which is good because there's no reason for him to suffer just because I can't taste anything and I know I can make this again once I feel better because it was very easy and quick.
There is one thing I learned though.. I do not like the texture of tentacles unless they've been cooked for hours or fried until golden brown and delicious.
Anyhoo.. what I wanted to accomplish a couple nights ago was picking out something from a newly acquired cookbook for my submission to the WCC #13. Unfortunately, the only cookbook I received for Christmas was Nigella Bites. Unfortunately because after my first flip through it, I wasn't impressed like I was with Feast and after my more in-depth look into it Friday afternoon I still didn't find much that tripped my trigger. At least nothing I could make for dinner. I did find something that I'll be making later today.. stay tuned! Same bat channel! Same bat time!
So I tossed Nigella to the side and picked up my 1,000 Italian Recipes book that I bought many moons ago and haven't really cooked much from. And it was from this book that I chose to make Calamari alla Veneta or Venetian-Style Calamari. This recipe was very easy to put together, very quick to cook with the flavors melding as if they'd simmered for hours (so says Hubbs) and the sauce was very creamy with the addition of a little Parmigiano Reggiano. I decided to serve this with penne, but the recipe says it's traditional to serve with white polenta. I also threw in some sliced kalamata olives just because they were sitting there staring at me.
By the way, if you are looking for a terrific cookbook jam packed with lots of traditional and contemporary Italian recipes, this book is worth the cash. Michele Scicolone is of Italian American descent and like many of us, learned how to cook by watching her parents and grandparents. She has collected recipes from traditional family favorites, to tried and true recipes given to her by friends as well as authentic Italian recipes collected in all regions of Italy in her travels. There is definitely something for everyone in this book. =)
Calamari alla Veneta or Venetian-Style Calamari
Adapted from 1,000 Italian Recipes written by Michele Scicolone
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled (I gave mine a good smash)
2 lbs. calamari (squid), cleaned and cut into rings
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped or 1 c. chopped canned tomatoes
1/2 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. sliced kalamata olives (My addition, optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. Penne, cooked to al dente or Polenta (both are optional)
Pour the oil into a large, heavy skillet. Add the onion and garlic to cold skillet (*See note) and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the onion is golden, about 10 minutes. The recipe says to discard the garlic at this point, but to me that's sacrilege - so my garlic stayed in ;)
Add the calamari, tomatoes, wine and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thickened and the calamari are tender, about 30 minutes. Serve hot. In Venice, fish is often served with Polenta with white rather than yellow cornmeal. I chose Penne cooked al dente.
*My Notes: When cooking with garlic and onions in oil or butter, it is best to add all the ingredients into a cold skillet then bring them, slowly, up in temperature together to avoid burning of the vegetables.
If you want to serve this with pasta, your sauce might reduce quite a bit after 30 minutes. I added a couple ladles of the pasta water and maybe 1/4 - 1/3 cup of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano to make the sauce creamy. Make sure to taste often as the cheese will bring a lot of saltiness to the dish - especially if you decide to add the kalamata olives.
If you decide to serve this without pasta or polenta make sure you have a good crusty bread to sop up the sauce. ;)