Calamari in Tomato Sauce

Calamari in Umido

Calamari cu’ pumaroru 


When raw calamari and sauce are cooked together, becauseof the dark color of the tentacles the sauce comes out in a murky almost black shade.  

The way we prepare this dish requires the extra step to boil the squid, tentacles and bodies separately, however without sacrificing on the taste, the result is worth the effort because the calamari in sauce are delicately delicious and the lighter sauce can be appreciated as a condiment for plate of spaghetti or linguine. 


 Sufficient for 1 lb. of pasta


The Calamari


  • 4 lb. squid, clean and keep separate tentacles and bodies    
  • 1 lemon 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • salt 


How to Boil Calamari 

Two pots with salted water are needed.   

Cut the bodies into ½ inch rings and tentacles in half. 

In a large pot place the squid rings, 1/2 lemon (squeeze the juice in the water), 1 bay leaf, abundant salt and bring to a boil. Lower to a medium heat and cook for about 25 minutes. Shut off heat and test a ring for tenderness. If they are not ready leave in the cooking water for an additional 5 minutes or until tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove and set aside. 

In a smaller pot, place the tentacles, 1/2 lemon (squeeze the juice in water), 1 bay leaf, teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Shut off heat and leave tentacles in the cooking water for an additional 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and set aside. 



The Calamari in Sauce


  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • 1 large onion finely chopped 
  • 3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed 
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste diluted in 1 cup of water 
  • 1 can 14 oz. peeled tomatoes 
  • 6 Basil leaves                         
  • A pinch of oregano 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Peperoncino -  red hot pepper(optional) 
  • Boiled calamari 
  • 1 cup of dry white wine 



Place the tomatoes in a bowl and crush them with your finger. Set aside. 

In a 4 quart saucepan, place the 4 tablespoons of oil and the onion. Sauté on medium heat until the onion is light golden add the garlic cloves; after a minute add the tomato paste diluted in water and sauté for about 5 minutes. If the sauce gets too dry add more water. 

Put in the pot the tomato, basil, oregano, the peperoncino (optional), salt and pepper; bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a medium to simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Mix in precooked calamari and the wine: should sauce be too dry add more wine or water. 

Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a medium and simmer for additional 15 minutes uncovered to let the wine evaporate. 

If the sauce of the calamari is too watery simmer for additional time, until it reaches the desired consistency.

Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with crusty bread or use for condiment over 1 lb. of spaghetti or linguine.