Greek Squid with Orzo Pasta

On my wanderings around the Farmers Market, I have come across some beautiful cleaned small squid still complete with tentacles.  It looks too good to ignore so into my basket it goes.

My experience of cooking squid is a little limited – mostly cutting it into rings, coating in cornflour and salt and pepper and quickly shallow frying.  Very tasty and quick but I know there is more to squid than this and, having committed to my squid purchase, I begin to trawl through my cookbooks for some alternative squid sensation.

The trouble with squid is that it can be an amazing tasty morsel or be the equivalent to chewing on a thick rubber band!  It has to be either cooked very quickly or very slowly – there is no middle ground.  I know the quick cook methods but think I’ll try a slow cook recipe.  I find a number of stuffed squid recipes and seafood stews but settle on a dish of squid and orzo pasta by Nigella which I decide to adapt a little to suit the ingredients I have to hand.  I must also admit to being more than a little influenced into this recipe by the fennel I have ready to harvest from the veggie patch and the dill in my herb garden. I think dill is one of my favourite herbs at the moment and I’m finding any excuse to use it!

Greek Squid with Orzo Pasta

600gm cleaned Squid left whole

1/2 to 1 bulb of Fennel (depending on size), cut into chunks

1 small Red Onion, peeled, halved and cut into half moons

2 large cloves of Garlic, smashed and peeled

60ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil

300gm Orzo Pasta

400gm can Diced Tomatoes

1 tbspn Tomato Paste

100gm bunch of Dill, chopped

1 cup of recently boiled Water

Salt & Pepper to taste 

You will need a casserole that you can use on the stove top and then put into the oven.  Preheat the oven to 160 deg C.

Put the olive oil into the casserole on a low heat and add the onion, fennel, garlic and whole squid.  Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Quite a bit of liquid wil come out of the squid.  Add the orzo pasta and the can of tomatoes and then put the tomato paste into the empty can and fill it with water and mix together and then add to the casserole.  Turn up the heat and when it is bubbling away, put the lid on and pop it into the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

At the end of the cooking time the orzo will have swollen and absorbed all the liquid.  Add the cup of boiled water, stirring and scraping up any bits on the bottom and sides of the casserole.  Add the salt and pepper to taste and most of the chopped dill, reserving some to sprinkle on top before serving.  Put back in the oven for about 5 – 10 minutes with the lid off.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the remaining dill and serve.   This will feed 4 hungry people as they will definitely go back for seconds!

I served this with a simple green salad.  This is not the most attractive dish you will ever serve but the squid is so meltingly tender and the whole dish so wonderfully delectable it really doesn’t matter.

I’m a slow cook squid convert!

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