Slow-cooked squid with spinach & chilli

Slow-cooked squid with spinach & chilli

Calamari in zimino

By
From
Tuscany
Serves
6
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

We first ate this dish in Livorno in a small trattoria around 18 years ago and I still remember it now. It was a cold day and the heat of the dish combined with the chilli and meltingly soft calamari was so welcome. It can be made with Swiss chard or spinach leaves and is a good dish to make in advance. It keeps well for around 3 days in the fridge and reheats quickly when needed. Other types of fish can be made in zimino, meaning cooked with tomatoes or green leaves, a term that dates back to the 12th century. This recipe was popular in 17th-century Florence and is found today in plenty of Tuscan restaurants.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
1 garlic clove, peeled, to serve
1/2-1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped, to taste
or 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes or chilli oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper
500g cleaned squid, body cut into 1 cm rings and tentacles and wings roughly chopped
250ml dry white wine
800g tinned whole plum tomatoes
300g swiss chard or spinach, tough stalks removed and leaves roughly chopped
200ml hot water
1 crusty loaf, sliced and toasted, to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large wide saucepan over a low heat. Add the onion, garlic, chilli, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5–7 minutes, or until the onions are soft and tender. Add the squid to the pan, increase the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes until the squid rings are white, stirring frequently. Pour in the wine and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and allow the alcohol to evaporate for 5–7 minutes. Put the tomatoes into a bowl and break them up with your hands or a potato masher so that they form a soft, pulpy sauce. Add the leaves, tomatoes and water to the pan, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and continue to cook for 1–1 1/2 hours, or until the squid is really tender and soft. Season to taste.
  2. Serve with toasted crusty bread rubbed with garlic and dressed with a little of your best olive oil.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Caldesi
Tuscany
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