This is one of my favorite ways to cook squid, using a method I often use when I want to simplify things — one-pan roasting. The beauty of it (aside from cleaning up fewer pans) is that the tomatoes and squid cook quickly, at the same time, and create a delicious garlic and chili-scented pan sauce for the pasta.
The toasted breadcrumb topping is key: as much as I love (and crave) pasta showered with cheese, the contrast here between the crunchy crumbs, al dente pasta and springy squid rings is really wonderful. It’s super traditional — almost verboten — for Italians to serve seafood with an aged cheese like Parmigiano or Pecorino, because its salty sharpness can overwhelm the delicate nature of fish or shellfish. Although I tend to push the rules a bit when I cook, in this case tradition wins.
Note: In the middle of summer, this recipe can be made on a gas grill instead of heating up the oven (and the kitchen). Preheat the grill to at least 500 degrees, then adjust the burners and place the sheet pan in the center of the grill over indirect heat.
Check out my recipe in the August/September issue of Fine Cooking magazine.
- 4 slices day-old crusty bread
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound cleaned squid bodies and tentacles, bodies sliced into 1/2-inch rings
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane or crushed with a garlic press
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Sea salt
- 12 ounces spaghetti or linguine
- 1 pint red or assorted color cherry tomatoes, halved
- Chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, mint or thyme, to taste
- To make the breadcrumbs, heat oven to 350 degrees. Slice or tear the bread into 1-inch pieces and spread on a baking sheet. Drizzle the bread with the 2 tablespoons oil and bake until the bread is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. Cool, then pulse in a food processor or blender to make coarse crumbs, or put into a heavy duty zip-top bag and bash with a rolling pin or heavy pot.
- Turn oven up to 475 degrees.
- Put the squid, olive oil, garlic, red pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and toss together.
- Bring a large (at least 6 quarts) pot of water to a boil - add enough salt to the water that it tastes salty (start with 1 tablespoon).
- When the oven is hot, place a large rimmed baking sheet on the rack to heat up for 10 minutes.
- Carefully pour the squid onto the hot baking sheet in an even layer - the pan might buckle at this point, but don't worry. Distribute the tomatoes over the squid and roast 8 -10 minutes, until the squid is opaque and the tomatoes shrivel and begin to caramelize.
- Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti until al dente, drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.
- Pour the squid and tomatoes over the spaghetti, along with all the pan liquid. Toss to combine (add more olive oil to taste if the pan seems dry).
- Top with the breadcrumbs and fresh herbs.