Monday dinner: Pasta with squid and white beans

Squid was a staple food when I was growing up. Our eve holidays (Christmas and New Years) always featured one or two different squid dishes. One was almost always tossed with marinara sauce. We would likely stuffed squid if the holiday was at my Aunt Carolyn’s house. Tubes would be cut and rolled with a breadcrumb, herb and cheese mixture, and baked in tomato sauce.

(Side note: I bristle when I go to a restaurant and hear someone order cahl-uh-mahr-ee. Medigansit’s pronounced cahl-uh-mahd.)

You could buy fresh squid, clean it, and boil it in a lemon and salt solution. Or, you could take the easy way out and buy cleaned tubes from your grocery fish freezer. Wegmans doesn’t stock fresh squid at its Fairmount location, so the cleaned tubes were my only option. I prefer to go frozen, or slightly defrosted, simply because these are much easier to cut with a knife. Otherwise, you end up fighting with the tough tissue of the squid.

This one goes together pretty easy and quick. I got it from prep to table in less than 30 minutes. The end result was pretty good for a Monday dinner.

Pasta with squid and white beans
Adapted from David Tanis via Serious Eats

  • 1 lb. spaghetti or bucatini
  • 1 lb. squid, cleaned, bodies slices into 1-inch rings, tentacles chopped, everything well-dried on paper towels
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, smashed to a paste with salt (about 3 teaspoons)
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. herbes de provence
  • 2 cups cooked white beans
  • 1 tbsp. juice from 1 lemon

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving some pasta cooking water.

When the pasta is about halfway done cooking, heat oil in a 12-inch stainless steel skillet over high heat until smoking. Carefully add squid. Season generously with salt and pepper and cook for 30 seconds, then add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and herbs and stir well. Cook until squid is just cooked through but not rubbery and aromatics are fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add white beans and remove from heat.

Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt, add the lemon juice, then add some pasta cooking water as needed to moisten the dish. Serve immediately.

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