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A MARIO BATALI RECIPE

Two-Minute Calamari

SICILIAN LIFEGUARD STYLE

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Geographically, Sicily is much closer to Tunisia, Morocco, and the Moorish world than it is to Milano, so the influences on traditional cooking are very Northern African. I love the way currants, caperberries, pine nuts, and chiles combine to create a sweet, hot and sour Arabic kiss on the delicate tentacles.


Ingredients

Calamari
red pepper flakes
Tomato Sauce

Kosher salt
1 cup Israeli couscous
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons currants
1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup caperberries
2 cups basic tomato sauce (see attached), or Molto Sugo Pomodoro Sauce
1 1/2 pounds cleaned calamari, tubes cut into 1/4-inch rounds, tentacles halved
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 scallions, thinly sliced

 

Basic Tomato Sauce
Makes 4 cups

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 28-ounce cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
Kosher salt, to taste

Directions

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Set up an ice bath nearby. Cook the couscous in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and immediately plunge it into the ice bath. Once cooled, remove and set aside to dry on a plate.

 

In a 12- to 14-inch saute pan, heat the oil until just smoking. Add the pine nuts, currants, and red pepper flakes and saute until the nuts are just golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the caperberries, tomato sauce, and couscous and bring to a boil. Add the calamari, stir to mix, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the calamari is just cooked and completely opaque. Season with salt and pepper, pour into a large bowl, sprinkle with scallions, and serve immediately.

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