I, a strong bell pepper hater, have recently fallen in love with hungarian wax peppers. To me, these have none of that...pepper flavor that I just can't figure out how to like. They're slightly sweet, carrying just a lip-tingling amount of spice, not a tongue-burning fire. Soon after cooking with the peppers for the first time, I knew I wanted to pair them with squid and feta. I'll admit the results aren't gorgeous, but once I tossed some thyme on top and served the dish alongside a loaf of crusty bread, I didn't care as much anymore.
When picking the feta, make sure you choose a very creamy, sheep's milk variety that will melt into the sauce. —lifeaswecookit
1 1/2 pounds
cleaned squid (bodies and tentacles)
olive oil (or more, if necessary), divided
large onion, peeled and diced
hungarian wax peppers, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/3 cups
dry white wine, divided
bottle (8 ounces) clam juice
large sprigs fresh thyme
sheep's milk feta cheese (I used Israeli)
Using sharp knife, cut tubes into 3/4" rings. If any tentacles are especially larger than the others, halve. Dry well with paper towels. Let continue to air dry while you cook the rest of the ingredients.
In large deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onions; cook 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook 15 minutes more, or until onions and peppers are tender and just starting to brown, stirring often. (If the mixture becomes too dry and starts to stick, add a tablespoon or two of water, broth, clam juice or olive oil.) Add garlic and cook 1 minute more, or until tender and fragrant, stirring constantly.
Increase heat to high; add 1/3 cup wine. Reduce down completely. Transfer onion mixture to bowl.
Now you want to cook the squid. You may want to cook it in two batches to make sure that the squid has room to sear and brown, not steam. Over high heat, add oil (in parts, if cooking squid in parts). Add squid and cook 3-4 minutes, turning once or until just starting to turn golden. Add 1/3 cup wine and reduce down completely.
Add remaining wine, clam juice, onion mixture and thyme to skillet; season very lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; make sure mixture is at a gentle simmer; cover. Cook 45-50 minutes, or until squid is very tender, stirring two or three times. Stir in most of the feta, until completely melted.
Serve over a bed of orzo, if desired, and sprinkle with remaining feta. Make sure you have bread to dunk into all the sauce in the skillet. (Alternatively, you could toss the squid with pasta - but, I would still make sure to get a loaf of bread for sauce dipping.)