Squid with Spinach

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

This colorful dish is known as calamari in zimino in Italy, where squid is often served with a combination of spinach, tomatoes and aromatic vegetables cooked with wine.


  • 2 lb. (1 kg) squid
  • 2 lb. (1 kg) spinach, stems removed
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) water
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 or 2 small dried hot chiles, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) dry white wine
  • 3/4 lb. (375 g) tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped


Clean the squid and cut the bodies crosswise into rings 1/4 inch (6 mm) wide. Cut the tentacles into pieces 2 inches (5 cm) long.

Stack 10 spinach leaves, roll them up and coarsely slice crosswise. Repeat with the remaining spinach. Pour the water into a saucepan, place over medium heat, salt lightly and add the spinach. Cover and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain well in a colander, pressing against the spinach with a wooden spoon to extract as much water as possible.

In a fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, garlic, parsley and chiles. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the garlic begins to color, about 4 minutes. Season with salt.

Add the squid to the pan with the vegetables, add the wine and cook until the squid is opaque, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach to the pan and stir well to coat it with the pan juices. Sauté until the flavors are blended, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, season with salt and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer gently until the stew has darkened, about 30 minutes. Transfer to warmed individual wide, shallow bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Tuscany, by Lori de Mori (Weldon Owen, 2002)

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