Day 183: Round rubber rings

July 2, 2007


L and I cooked Venetian Calamari with Spicy Sauce and Egg Fettucine for a late lunch today, as cooking and blogging and preparing for work just before going on Monday nights is a little on the hectic/ stressful side. Still, this is week 5 of the semester, so only 5 more weeks to go. I have to confess that I was not looking forward to this meal at all, given that I don’t really like calamari. The only calamari we could find was a frozen bag of the rings and tentacles, and I was concerned that it would be sloppy like the frozen shrimp we have been using lately. I needn’t have spent any time being concerned, this meal was remarkably pleasant.

The dish cannot be faulted in terms of quick and easy preparation. The only chopping required was of the garlic and the parsley. We defrosted the calamari by running it under the cold tap for a few minutes and drying it on copious amounts of paper towels. It was fried in olive oil with the garlic and red pepper flakes. A splash of white wine was added and quickly cooked off. A can of crushed tomatoes, parsley, salt, pepper, curry powder and cinnamon were added and warmed through. The fresh egg fettucine was boiled for a couple of minutes, drained then tossed with the sauce and served in bowls. Fresh basil, from the pot on our porch no less, was torn and strewn on top of the pasta.

In about 15 minutes we had a pretty impressive meal. I still don’t particularly like calamari, but the pasta and sauce were very tasty. The curry-cinnamon combination added a sweet smoky spiciness which was unexpected in a tomato-based pasta dish. It did present an internal dilemma, however, I really wanted to put cheese on the pasta, but it seemed wrong, like cheese on curry. We did abbreviate the recipe a little; the calamari is supposed to be fried for 3 minutes before adding the garlic and pepper flakes, which should then be cooked for 2 more minutes before adding the wine. We were fearful that the calamari would be totally overcooked, particularly as the packaging said that they should only be cooked for 50-70 seconds, total. We added the garlic and pepper at the same time as the calamari, which gave out a lot of water. We also added the wine sooner than called for, as the dish was already so wet. The overall effect was fine, although the calamari was pretty rubbery. Obviously, that was not a great surprise. Interestingly, with the benefit of hindsight, we could have totally cheated on his meal if we were that way inclined; the fettucine and the calamari look virtually identical when cooked.

Tomorrow we are making Pizza Capricciosa, followed by Salad Capricciosa. The only thing that I know about these meals, is that they both feature hard boiled eggs. I can say with certainty that we have never cooked hard boiled eggs in this household, but I’ll be interested to see what Baby A makes of them. L won’t touch them, due to his egg allergy, and last time I tried, I could only stomach a little of the white. The yolk, it does bad things. Still, in the interests of research, tomorrow we will certainly give it a go.

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