Taglierini con Calamaretti

I have a penchant for miniature foods, so imagine my delight when I came across these teeny tiny calamari at The Lobster Place. They're called calamaretti, and they're a pain to clean, so I have to confess that I didn't get to them all. But did I mind? No. I simply pan-fried them in a pan with garlic-parsley butter and tossed them with fresh taglierini, topped off with lemon juice, chives, and a pinch of smoked paprika. Dinner in a flash!

*To read more about calamaretti, I've written about them for the Houston Press here.

1/4 lb. of calamaretti
2 tablespoons of garlic-parsley butter (I bought mine ready-made from The Lobster Place)
2 nests of fresh taglierini
Fresh chives
A squeeze of lemon juice
Smoked paprika
Sea salt
Black pepper
Olive oil


1. Do your best to clean the calamaretti and pat dry. Set aside.

2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. This is for cooking the pasta. If you're wondering how salty it should be, it should taste like the ocean. Yes, you should taste the water. I learned that from a pasta-making class at Del Posto. It'll take some time to boil, which gives you a chance to multitask.

3. As you're waiting for your pot of water to boil, heat a frying pan over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. When hot, add 2 tablespoons of the garlic-parsley butter. The butter should melt and sizzle and the whole kitchen should smell absolutely yummy.

3. Throw the calamaretti into the pan and move it around with a spatula so that it cooks evenly. Season with a bit of sea salt and black pepper. The little tentacles will start to curl and the juices will mix with the butter and olive oil to create a sauce. Turn off the heat. 

4. Back to the pasta! Your water should be boiling by now. Gently drop the taglierini into the boiling water. Give it a little stir. Cook for 2 minutes or so, until al dente. Drain and throw the pasta into the pan with the calamaretti while the pasta is still steaming hot. Toss and toss and toss until the pasta is coated with the sauce. You may want to add a bit more butter, if you please. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the entire pan and toss some more.

5. Once it's on a plate, snip some fresh chives on top and add a good pinch of smoked paprika.