My grandmother made calamari soup usually on Fridays or religious holidays. She bought the squid whole and then cleaned them before making soup. First she cut the tentacles from the head, removed the clear piece of cartilage, discarded the head and ink sac (she never made anything with the ink), and sliced it up, tentacles included, into bite size pieces. It was definitely a from-scratch dish, and the squid was always fresh. She served calamari soup with lots of freshly baked Italian bread and as a side to a larger meal—sometimes fried eel or pasta.
Calamari soup is also called squid soup, calamari chowder, squid chowder, calamari stew, and squid stew. We make it with few ingredients—fresh squid mostly with a small amount of tomato paste. You can add vegetables (carrots, potatoes), tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine, and small pieces of fried bacon or pancetta. If you’re not into cleaning seafood, cleaned and sliced squid is available frozen in most seafood stores and specialty grocers. That certainly makes it easier to prepare squid.
We like calamari soup soupy so that we can dip chunks of Italian bread in the broth, mopping up every last drop.
- 2 pounds squid tubes and tentacles
- 2 ounces olive oil
- 1 can tomato paste (6 ounces)
- 4 cups water
- 2½ tablespoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon parsley
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper(add more if desired)
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Clean and prepare the squid then cut into bite size pieces. Put olive oil in sauce pot and add the tomato paste and one cup of water. Add garlic powder, oregano, parsley, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add three more cups of water. Add squid and bay leaf.
- Simmer on low heat for about one to two hours or until squid are tender. Remove bay leaf from sauce before serving. Serve with Italian bread for dipping.