Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Tried a new recipe last might, it was good, but could have been better.

I started with calimari -- I have had a craving for it for about a week now. In a small pot I made some extra thick red sauce, while heating some Olive Oil and butter in a skillet. I tossed some onions and garlic into the hot oil, and cooked them until clear, then added the calamari. Once it was ready, I added the red sauce, letting the calamari juice thin it out. In the meantime, I was cooking some shell pasta to put it over.

So far, so good. The red sauce was one of the best I've ever made, and the calamari was perfect (which is a challenge -- too underdone and it's slimy, too overcooked and it's rubber). But here's where I made my mistake. Or rather, the culmination of my mistake. TFR had mentioned wanting mushrooms with dinner. I'm not a big fan of the fungi, but, you do what you can to please the wife, ya know? So I figured I'd try some oyster mushrooms -- the only kind I've ever tried and liked. Except the store was out of them, so I settled for Chanterelles. Near the end of cooking the red sauce (Calimarinara, I'm calling it), I added the mushrooms.

Unfortunately, Chanterelles don't maintain their texture as well as oyster mushrooms, so they went soft right away. I didn't like them. TFR thought they were good, but could have been better.

Other than that, the sauce was a hit. We had sauteed green beans, ciabatta garlic bread, and a very nice Pinot Noir (a 2003 from Saginaw Vineyards, just south of Eugene) with it. I also picked up some good Parmesan Reggiano to grate over the bread and the pasta.

So here, minus the mushrooms, is the recipe:

1 lb calimari rings
1 15 oz can diced tomatos
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
1 tspn parsley
1 pinch thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cups shell pasta (medium)
Parmesan Reggiano

Chop onion and mince garlic. Rinse the calamari in a colander.

In a pot, begin to bring 1 quart of salted water to a boil. When water reaches a boil, add shell pasta. Let the water come back to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until pasta is al dente, strain pasta.

While water is heating, combine the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 cloves of garlic, the herbs, a pinch of salt and pepper to taste in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

In a skillet, combine the olive oil and butter and heat over medium high heat. Once the oil and butter are hot, add the onion and the rest of the garlic. When the onions are clear, add the calimari. stir frequrntly, cook for approximately 3-5 minutes or until calimari rings become firm. Add red sauce to the skillet, stirr thoroughly. Serve over shell pasta, cover with grated parmesan reggiano, garnish with chopped fresh oregano. Serves 4-6.