Chilled Chardonnay-Braised Calamari Pasta

Cooling this skinny pasta, then tossing it with Chardonnay-braised squid in a light, tangy sauce, makes for a refreshing first course. Chef Michael Chiarello of Bottega in Napa Valley used the 2008 Whetstone El Pajaro Chardonnay because its acidity is "a trampoline for flavor".


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  • Servings: 8 first-course servings

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  • 1/2 pound spaghettini
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound cleaned small squid, patted dry
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups Chardonnay (lightly oaked or unoaked)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped oregano
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well. Drizzle the pasta with olive oil and toss to coat. Spread the pasta out on a large rimmed baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate.

  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the squid, season with salt and black pepper and cook over high heat for 30 seconds, turning once. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the squid to a large bowl and chill. Boil the wine until it is reduced to 1/2 cup, about 8 minutes. Add the oregano and half of the chopped parsley and remove from the heat.

  3. Transfer the wine reduction to a blender and puree. With the machine on, slowly pour in the remaining 1/4
    cup of olive oil followed by 2 tablespoons of cold water. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, or until chilled.

  4. Cut the squid bodies into 1/4inch-thick rings. Return the squid to the bowl. Add the chilled spaghettini and sauce and toss well. Season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the pasta with the remaining parsley, toss once more and serve.

Make Ahead

The sauced pasta can be refrigerated overnight. Serve lightly chilled.

Suggested Pairing

Winemaker Jamey Whetstone poured a zippy Chardonnay with this dish.

Contributed By Photo © Cedric Angeles Published October 2010

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