Slow-Cooked Calamari with Tomatoes and Basil (All’acqua Pazza) is a specialty of the Amalfi Coast, Italy. The trick to tender calamari is to cook it hot and fast or very low and slow as in this recipe. —Sippity Sup (Greg Henry)
extra-virgin olive oil (divided, plus more as needed and for drizzling)
cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
sea salt (plus more for seasoning)
small dried red chile (such as chile de árbol crumbled) or a generous pinch of crushed red chile pepper flakes
dry white wine
(15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
chopped fresh basil (plus more for garnish )
Using a kitchen mallet, lightly pound both sides of calamari bodies 6 or 7 times to tenderize, then cut crosswise into 3/4-inch rings. (Leave tentacles whole, or halve if quite large.)
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 5.5 quart stainless steel Dutch oven or large casserole with a lid set over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just beginning to color, about 5 minutes.
Stir in minced garlic, salt, and crumbled dried chile. Add calamari pieces and cook, gently stirring, until nearly opaque, about 1 minute.
Raise the heat to medium-high and add wine and clam juice. Once the mixture begins to boil pour in tomatoes with their juices. Reduce the heat to very low, cover the pot with lid and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Uncover the pot and stir in chopped basil and orange zest. Continue to cook until the calamari is very tender and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
Put 1 slice of lightly toasted bread into each shallow serving bowl, and top with calamari and sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with additional basil and a drizzle of olive oil.