Calamari in Spicy Tomato Sauce

This quick calamari in spicy tomato sauce makes a great weeknight meal! If you don’t know how to clean squid, you can learn here. We use a very sharp utility knife (this one specifically) that makes the process go really quickly. This is also the one time we will use a plastic cutting board. They aren’t great for your knives, but they are non-porous and easy to clean. Once the squid was cleaned, we cut it in rings and put it back in the refrigerator while we prepped the rest of the ingredients. We keep a stack of these hotel pans for prep work. They help keep the kitchen organized, they stack, and they are dishwasher safe–perfect for messy things like squid. If you can’t get whole squid, you could use shrimp or frozen calamari rings.

Calamari in spicy tomato sauce served in a black staub cocotte pot

To keep things easy, we used our go-to Mamma Agata tomato sauce recipe as the base for our this dish. We like to make big batches and keep it on hand in the freezer in quart-size bags. The only other things you’ll need for this recipe are olive oil (we use this one), scallions, couscous, garlic, and hot Italian chili peppers. This or this would be good substitutes for couscous.

No one likes a mess in the kitchen or doing dishes, so we always try to use the smallest pan that will do the job. To quickly boil a cup of couscous, this size saucepan worked perfectly and this size strainer was perfect for draining it. One of our favorite things in our kitchen is this amazing pepper grinder. It keeps the oils from the peppers off your fingers, is actually fun to use, and we love the modern Italian style. We’ve gotten them as gifts for several people and everyone loves them. We’re a little Alessi-obsessed. Clayton loves Italian red coral, so we also have this fruit bowl on our counter at all times. We also love thisthis, and these.

Drinking pinot and eating calamari in spicy tomato sauce
Serving up Calamari in spicy tomato sauce

We finished making our dinner in our favorite Staub cast-iron round cocotte (c/o), which is extra-useful because it can go straight from the stove to the tabletop with a beautiful presentation. It also retains heat well and keeps food warm when you serve it. See more essentials for this dish below, and if you like squid, check out our grilled squid salad here.

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Calamari in Spicy Tomato Sauce
  • 1 pound of squid, cleaned (see how) and cut into ½" rings
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red Italian chili peppers
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 2 cups Mamma Agata tomato sauce (recipe here)
  • Thinly sliced scallions, for serving
  • Salt
  1. Fill a small saucepan ¾ full with water. Add a pinch of salt and bring the water to a boil. Add one cup of couscous and boil for 2 minutes. As soon as the timer goes off, strain the couscous through a mesh strainer and run cold water over it to stop the cooking. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy bottomed pan, warm ¼ cup of olive oil and add the minced garlic and crushed chili peppers. Saute until the garlic just begins to soften. Add the white wine and stir to combine, then add the 2 cups of tomato sauce and couscous. Cover and bring to a simmer.
  3. When the sauce and couscous mixture is simmering, add the calamari and cover again. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the calamari is just cooked through. Be careful not to overcook it. Adjust the seasoning to taste, adding more red chili flakes if desired, and sprinkle with thinly sliced scallions to serve.


  1. Guys, Thanks For sharing this Great Recipe. My Family Loved it. I am definitely sharing this recipe and this website with my friend. Hope they also love it. Thank you again for sharing such a great recipe.

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