Test Kitchen Favorite: Sicilian Calamari with Israeli Couscous

Though you might commonly find calamari on bar menus as a fried appetizer, there’s much that you can do with it.

Calamari is the Italian (and culinary) name for squid. Though you might commonly find calamari on bar menus as a fried appetizer, there’s so much more that you can do with it. Here, it’s simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce and combined with Israeli couscous and sweet-tart currants for a meal that’s light and satisfying.

Calamari can be tricky to prep. Be sure to pat the tubes dry with a paper towel so they don’t slip when you try to hold them in place. Use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors.

Scallions have a strong flavor when served raw as a garnish. Use only as much as desired depending on your taste preference.

2 cloves garlic
2 scallions
8 caperberries
12 ounces calamari
⅔ cup Israeli couscous
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons currants
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
½ cup white wine

1. Prepare Ingredients
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Mince garlic. Rinse scallions, trim and discard roots, and thinly slice. Pick and discard stems of caperberries. Rinse calamari, pat dry with paper towel, and cut tubes crosswise into ½-inch slices (see Recipe

2. Cook Couscous
Add couscous and a generous pinch salt to pot of boiling water and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. Simmer Tomatoes
While couscous cooks, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add pine nuts, currants, as much crushed red pepper as desired, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and juices, white wine, and caperberries. Simmer until reduced by ⅓, about 5 minutes.

4. Warm Couscous
Add couscous to pan with tomatoes over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until warmed through, about 1 minute.

5. Simmer Calamari
Season calamari all over with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper. Add to pan with tomatoes over medium-high heat and simmer, stirring, until opaque, 2–3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Taste and add salt and black pepper as needed.

6. Plate Calamari
Serve calamari and couscous in pretty bowls. Garnish with scallions. Buon appetito!


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