My whole family loves fried calamari, but I don’t like the work required to make it. Occasionally we’ll go to a restaurant that sells gluten-free fried calamari as a treat for my oldest daughter (fried calamari and sushi are her two favorite foods), but we were looking for an easier cooking method for in-between restaurant trips.
Our local grocery store sells frozen calamari tubes which are pre-cleaned and easy to just slice into rings. I found that if the calamari is mostly thawed rather than fully thawed, it’s easier to slice. This is a light “sauce” for pasta, and could be paired with a salad, artichokes, or any roasted vegetable. We had roasted brussels sprouts on the side, one of our favorites.
This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, and corn free recipe.
- 1 lb pasta (we used Tinkyada Brown Rice penne, but linguine would be great)
- 1 lb calamari, pre-cleaned tubes & tentacles
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 2 TBS margarine or 2 additional TBS olive oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 3-4 grinds black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried basil (or 2 tsp chopped fresh)
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano (if you don’t have fresh basil)
- 1 splash white wine (optional)
Thaw the calamari: submerge the frozen package in cold water, then place under a slooowly dripping faucet for 20-30 minutes.
While the calamari is thawing, bring the salted water for cooking the pasta to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.
When the calamari is mostly thawed, cut the tubes into rings (cutting the flattened tubes into strips, which creates rings when the tube is opened). Don’t slice the tentacles, they’re great as-is. Set the calamari to the side.
In a large skillet, mix olive oil and margarine, and heat to medium, melting the margarine.
Add onion and garlic to the oil, and begin to sauté. Add spices, and keep the garlic & onion moving so it doesn’t brown or burn, cooking for about 3-5 minutes.
Add a splash of white wine if desired, it will carry the flavors, but the alcohol is burned off.
Add the calamari rings and tentacles to the garlicky goodness, and cook for about 6 minutes. The calamari will be cooked, but not rubbery. Take calamari off heat before it gets rubbery!!!
Drain the pasta and toss with the calamari, then serve with a salad, roasted brussels sprouts, or another vegetable. Delicious, easy, and ready in under 45 minutes!