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Calamari Pasta Arrabbiata - Italian Inspired

I use fresh tomatoes in this homemade spicy Arrabbiata sauce. You can use frozen tomatoes if you prefer, without detracting from the taste too much. Canned tomatoes, however, I found doesn't have the tang that comes with fresh tomatoes. I decided to omit tomato paste to avoid masking the amazing flavors of the fresh tomatoes. Unfortunately, tomato paste also helps redden the color of the sauce, so omitting it causes the sauce to be less red. With Calamari and Basil, this dish is a delicious light tasting meal, perfect for a taste of summer, whether in warm weather or cold. Feel free to substitute calamari for shrimps if you prefer.

Ingredients

Arrabiata Sauce

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 to 2 hot chili pepper, chopped, adjust according to taste
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 to 4 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 lbs fresh tomatoes, washed, diced or sliced thinly
  • 3 to 4 tsp brown sugar, adjust according to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 to 10 basil leaves
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Calamari

  • 1 lb calamari, ringed
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder, optional
  • ½ tsp crushed pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Fry chopped onion, garlic, celery and hot chili pepper in cooking oil.
  2. Once slightly browned, add shredded carrot and bay leaves.
  3. Stir for a few minutes, then add cut tomatoes.
  4. Add 1/2 tsp salt to tomatoes, and allow to come to a boil with lid of pan open, to thicken sauce. Stir often.
  5. Once sauce has gotten thicker, add brown sugar to balance the tang of the fresh tomatoes. Add 5 basil leaves and salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.
  6. This sauce works great on its own as a marinara sauce, but feel free to add meat as below.
  7. Remove sauce from pan. Do not rinse pan.
  8. Using the same pan, add about 1-2 tablespoons cooking oil to the pan.
  9. Add calamari, garlic powder, black pepper and crushed pepper flakes to the pan.
  10. Sautee calamari until cooked, usually just a couple minutes. Then add sauce back into the pan. Mix well..
  11. Add al-dente cooked pasta to sauce and mix well.
  12. Serve warm with fresh basil.

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