This is one of the most classic ways of preparing cuttlefish. Calamari has made it into American kitchens, but cuttlefish is still a rarity. Cuttlefish is similar to calamari, just a bit wider and meatier. Instead of the cartilage backbone of the calamari, the cuttlefish has a chalky wide internal structure called the cuttlebone. It is the cuttlefish ink sac that is used for black risotto in Italy, not calamari ink. The difference is that when cuttlefish is cleaned and the cuttlebone is removed it opens up, it does not remain a tube like the calamari. It is one of my favorite fish. Have the fishmonger clean it; you’ll thank me for that tip. If you insist on doing it yourself, follow the directions below.
- 6 tablespoons -extra--virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 6 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced (strain and reserve juices from seeds)
- 3 cups fresh shelled peas (frozen peas are fine, but add them only 5 minutes before adding the cuttlefish)
- ¼ teaspoon crushed -red--pepper flakes
- 2 pounds cuttlefish, cleaned and cut
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
In a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the peas, and the crushed red pepper. Cover, and let simmer until the tomatoes release their juices, about 7 minutes.
Push the vegetables to the side of the pan. Pat the cleaned cuttlefish dry, and add head and strips to the skillet. Simmer for a few minutes separately, then mix. Season with the salt, and pour in the wine and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Cover, and let simmer until the cuttlefish are just cooked through (don’t overcook), about 7 minutes, mixing occasionally. If desired, pick off any stray skins that have come off the tomatoes. Stir in the parsley, and serve.