Recipe By Chef John
Published Apr 28th
Calamari Marinara
Prep 15m Cook 56m Additional - Ready In 1h 11m
Servings 4 servings Calories 806.4

Calamari has an unfair reputation for being tricky to work with and that it’s rubbery when cooked. Here’s the secret: cook it in 45 seconds or 45 minutes–very quickly or a long slow simmer. For this marinara dish, I use the long simmer method.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 serrano chile pepper, sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 6 cups crushed or pureed Italian plum tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 pounds frozen calamari (tubes and tentacles), thawed, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 (16 ounce) package dry pasta

Cooking Directions

  1. 1 Drizzle olive oil into saucepan (not over heat). Add onions, Serrano pepper, garlic, anchovy filet, red pepper flakes, and salt. Place pot over medium-high heat. When onions start to sizzle after a minute or so, stir and cook until onions and garlic just start to turn golden, 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in wine.
  2. 2 Cook until wine is reduced by about half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add clam juice, tomatoes, and oregano. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. When sauce begins to bubble, reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes.
  3. 3 Transfer calamari to sauce pot; stir gently. Simmer until calamari are tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley.
  4. 4 Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until tender yet firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain.
  5. 5 Stir some sauce into the hot, drained pasta. Serve in warm bowls topped with more marinara sauce and grated cheese.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 806.4
  • Carbohydrate 117.8 g
  • Cholesterol 3.8 mg
  • Fat 12.2 g
  • Fiber 11.9 g
  • Protein 53.4 g
  • Saturated Fat 1.7 g
  • Sodium 921.2 mg
  • Sugar 5.8 g


  1. Absolutely delicious. Restaurant worthy dish. Followed recipe exactly as written. Flavors blended beautifully. I love calamari but have always shied away from cooking it at home. This is a keeper for sure.
  2. An Incredible dish that will definitely make your guests think you spent hours in the kitchen. The serrano peppers & pepper flakes give a very nice "kick" to the dish without being over the top. Everyone went back for seconds. I'll definitely be making this dish again!
  3. Followed recipe. No need for changes. It was DELICIOUS!!!!!
  4. Fantastic recipe! We live in the PNW and can get fresh squid...I didn't use the clam juice, as I like my sauce a bit drier. The anchovy filet gives such a nice taste to this dish! We lived in Italy for 4 years with the military, and I felt transported back to that time when - Read more ...
  5. Very bland sauce and calamari. Not really special
  6. Awesome recipe it's a fun spicy twist off of marinara
  7. What can I say? Chef John did it again! The extended cooking method made the most tender calamari I ever had. Local grocer didn't have serrano pepper so I substituted with jalapeno, which is just not as hot. Excellent recipe.
  8. Excellent! Chef Joh has done it again!
  9. A Marinara sauce that kicks nicely, would be good with black mussels or other seafood as well.