Rigatoni with Braised Squid, Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil


Photo by Michael Piazza / Styled by Jeremy Sewall

If you can find fresh rigatoni, give it a try in this sunny Mediterranean dish. If you’re a “no cheese with fish” purist, feel free to leave out the Parmigiano, although some Southern Italians would argue it works with this spicy tomato sauce. A few fresh oregano leaves are also a great addition.

Serves 4 as a main course

1 pound cleaned squid tubes and tentacles, tubes cut into 1/4-inch circles
5 ripe red tomatoes
¼ cup minced white onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
¼ cup white wine
12 large basil leaves and 12 small leaves to garnish
cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ pound rigatoni
1 teaspoon chili flakes
cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of very salty water to a boil for the pasta. Rinse, core and dice the tomatoes into ¼ -inch cubes, reserving the juice. Warm the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onions and sweat until they begin to color lightly.

Stir in the garlic and cook for 20 seconds, add the diced tomatoes with their juice and let come up to a simmer, then add the white wine. Bring back to a simmer and add the squid; season with salt and pepper and stir to coat. Cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to low; the mixture should be barely simmering. Stir gently every 5 minutes and let cook for 25 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit covered.

As soon as you remove the squid from the heat, cook the pasta in the boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well and toss in with the cooked squid; tear the large basil leaves into pieces and fold into the sauce. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Divide between 4 bowls and top with chili flakes, Parmigiano and garnish with small basil leaves on top.

This recipe appeared in the Spring 2019 issue as part of a larger story on squid.