Spicy Calamari Pasta with Rocket Leaves and Crunchy, Herb Topping

calamari pasta.jpg

I never associated calamari with pasta sauces and I’m glad I finally did. This is a lovely pasta dish, perfect as a summer night’s dinner or light lunch. The calamari is first cooked in a slightly spicy tomato sauce, then you throw in the pasta and let it simmer for a couple of minutes to absorb all the flavors. “Mitsides” shrimp shaped pasta is perfect for this. The rocket leaves mixed at the end give freshness and a great flavor. The topping is great! Breadcrumbs toasted in olive oil with fresh herbs like basil, mint and parsley. Will be making this many many times this summer, for sure.

calamari salad mits.jpg


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 500 grams calamari, sliced thickly
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 x 400 grams can “Mitsides” chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 500 grams “Mitsides” shrimp shaped pasta
  • 1 ½ cup rocket leaves, roughly chopped

For the topping

  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs fresh herbs such as mint, basil, parsley


First, make the topping. In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the herbs and olive oil. Put breadcrumb mixture in a small frying pan and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring often, until breadcrumbs are crisp and golden. Put topping in a bowl and set aside until needed.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. In another large pot or skillet (it needs to be large enough to fit the pasta and sauce), poor in the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook stirring occasionally until soft and beginning to colour. Add the garlic and spring onions and cook for a minute more. Increase heat to high and add the calamari. Cook stirring for a minute or so, then add the cherry tomatoes and the wine. Let it bubble for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped tomatoes, parsley, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to boil and let the sauce cook for about 5 minutes, until thickened a bit but not too much (the pasta will absorb the sauce)

Make the pasta while sauce cooks. Put pasta in the boiling, salted water and cook for 4 minutes. Pasta will not be fully cooked at this stage. Drain (keep some of the water) and add to the pot with the sauce. Cook stirring for a couple of minutes until pasta is cooked. If pasta seems dry, stir in a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water. Take pot off the heat and add the rocket leaves to the pasta. Mix and put in a serving platter. Sprinkle with the crunchy topping and serve.


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