Cuttlefish with peas

May 31, 2015

Seppie e Piselli

This dish is inspired by a family recipe passed on by my nonna to my aunt and onto me. The recipe here is very different from the one my nonna made. It is my version and I guarantee brilliant results.
No other recipe more than this one typifies the struggle I had in adapting Italian dishes cooked by my family in Italy to the ingredients available in Australia.
It took me 25 years to be able to cook this dish and be able to substitute cuttlefish with squid in the days when cuttlefish was not available in our markets. Once I did the results were outstanding and this is one of my favorite dishes to cook and eat. Everyone whom I have cooked it for loves it as well.
The sweet Pescara peppers are sent to me by my family in Italy or brought back by me when I travel to Abruzzo.

5 Bigger
Ingredients for 4 people
 1.2 Kg of cuttlefish or squid cleaned and sliced in small pieces, not in rings.

350 gr of frozen peas
3 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic clove
1 white onion
1 tbs of tomato paste
100 ml of dry white wine
1 small chilli
1 tbs of sweet dried peppers from Pescara (optional)
1 cup of fish stock
Salt and pepper to taste
A handful of coarsely chopped parsley
Crusty bread
Wash and slice the cuttlefish or squid. Cut them in 5cm x 1cm long pieces, chop and slice the tentacles and wings in manageable pieces.

Remove the bone if using cuttlefish or the quill if using squid.

Remove the bone if using cuttlefish or the quill if using squid.


Remove the eyes, the beak, the intestines under running water. Rinse off any black ink thoroughly especially if any of the sacs broke during the cleaning process.

Warm the extra virgin olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic. You need to take care that the heat is not too strong or the garlic will burn. As soon as the onions are soft and the garlic has changed to a golden color, remove the garlic. Increase the heat, add the chilli, the sweet peppers (if using) and the tomato paste. Let the tomato paste cook and caramelize with the onions on a lively heat.

Add the cuttlefish and sauté until they change color and become translucent. Add the white wine and allow to evaporate. Reduce the heat and partially cover. Cook on a very low heat for 45 minutes and up to 1 hour, (the cuttlefish should be soft and melt in the mouth. Add the frozen peas and stir to allow the peas to separate. If the dish is too dry add a little water or fish stock.


Cook on a very low heat for another 10 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste.

6 Bigger

Rest for 5 minutes uncovered. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately with crusty bread.



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