Calamari in umido (calamari stew) is a common recipe found throughout Italy. A similar recipe is also common with octopus :: polipo, an ingredient loved and used often in Italian cuisine.
This calamari stew is a great recipe when you want a meal that warms you up. It’s a synch to make and is packed with aromatic Mediterranean flavors like onions, garlic, white wine :: vino bianco, tomatoes, basil, capers and taggiasche olives.
Before living in Italy, I had only eaten fried calamari rings as an appetizer :: antipasto in restaurants usually dipped in some honey mustard or aioli sauce. I had never eaten stuffed calamari, nor had I tried them grilled or in a stew. It was only by living and traveling in Italy, that I discovered these foreign delicacies.
Exploring and learning about the Italian culture through it’s magnificent cuisine is one of the things I love most about living in Italy. And, for those who may not have an Italian trip scheduled in the near future, you too can get a taste :: un assaggio of Italy just by making this traditional recipe at home. Buon appetito!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ red onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, finely diced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
- One 12 oz can (330g) tomato purée
- 1 lb (500g) fresh calamari, cleaned(ask your fishmonger) & chopped into ¼ inch rings
- 1 handful fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons capers (rinsed if packed in salt)
- 2 teaspoons (10g) taggiasche olives (or kalamata olives)
- ¾ cup (140g) peas (fresh or frozen)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet then add the red onion and cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Pour in the white wine, chopped tomatoes and tomato purée. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
- Add the calamari to the skillet along with the basil, capers and taggiasche olives. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the peas and cook for 1-2 minutes or until soft.
- Serve warm with a good chunk of homemade bread.