Two-Minute Calamari , Plus Three More Recipes from Chef Silvia Bianco


Food411’s Chef Silvia Bianco sent us four recipes for the “Teach a Man to Fish” sustainable seafood event.

Scroll down for other recipes including:

  • Two-Minute Calamari with Pine Nuts, Tomatoes, and Scallions
  • Salmon and Wild Mushrooms in a Roasted Red Pepper Sauce over Fettuccine
  • Seafood Risotto
  • Tilapia Pomodoro (This is a low-fat recipe)

Two-Minute Calamari with Pine Nuts, Tomatoes, and Scallions

I love fried calamari, so I usually order it in restaurants, even though I’m often disappointed with what I get. Calamari must be cooked at a high temperature for a short time or at medium temperature for a longer time. Unfortunately, local fire codes won’t allow my restaurant (a wooden building of 1830s vintage) to have a deep fryer. So what’s a chef to do when she can’t put her own favorite on her restaurant menu? That’s right: I sauté it. Sauté is fast and can be done over high heat, so it’s a perfect way to cook calamari. Frankly, this combination of calamari, sweet scallions, crunchy pine nuts, and fresh tomatoes makes fried calamari look, well, boring. Here’s calamari like you’ve never had it before.


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes1
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound calamari tubes, cut in 1/2-inch rings
  • 2 plum tomatoes, coarsely diced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fish broth
  • 1/4 cup White Wine Sauce (see below)
  • 2 fresh scallions, halved lengthwise and coarsely diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, stems removed and chopped

Put the olive oil, red pepper flakes, and garlic in a medium sauté pan over high heat for about 30 seconds, or just until the garlic begins to brown. Sauté the calamari for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, fish broth, White Wine Sauce, and scallions, and cook for 1 minute more, or until the sauce begins to boil. Remove from the heat, and test a piece of calamari for doneness. It should be opaque and tender. If not, cook it a little longer. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a large bowl, add the pine nuts, sprinkle with the parsley, and adjust the seasonings if desired.

White Wine Sauce
Makes 5 to 6 cups

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups lightly flavored fish broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (see note)

Pour the olive oil into a 4- to 5-quart saucepan over medium heat, then add the flour and stir with a wire whisk until all the flour is dissolved and the mixture looks like a paste. Reduce the heat and slowly add the wine; the mixture will start to thicken quickly. Continue to stir and remove from the heat, if necessary, until all the wine has been mixed in. Slowly pour in the broth while you continue to stir. Simmer, uncovered, for approximately 1 hour, or until the taste of alcohol is no longer present in the sauce. Freeze in containers of various sizes, including some in an ice-cube tray to allow easy small additions to sauces. It can stay in the freezer for 6 months or more.

NOTE: Be sparing with the salt and pepper. It’s better to under-season this sauce, because you will season it again in the sauté pan.

NOTE: If this (or any) sauce ever has lumps caused by undissolved flour, just pass the sauce through a sieve or a mesh strainer. It will come out lump-free.

Salmon and Wild Mushrooms in a Roasted Red Pepper Sauce over Fettuccine

If you like mushrooms and salmon, this dish will astound you. The roasted red pepper sauce is easy to prepare, even though it is somewhat time-consuming to roast and peel the red bell peppers. You can buy roasted peppers in the supermarket, but I assure you that once you learn how to roast your own, you’ll never go back to store-bought ones. You’ll love serving roasted peppers tossed with a bit of oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and parsley or basil as an accompaniment to many meals.
Makes 4 servings

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, approximately
  • 1/2 pound wild mushrooms (shiitake, crimini, portobello, or other favorite), stems removed, cleaned, and sliced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound fettuccine (or other favorite pasta, except small, shaped pasta)
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 pound salmon fillet (wild Alaskan) skinned and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 1 cup Marinara Sauce (see below)
  • 3 large red bell peppers, roasted and puréed
  • 1/4 cup dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fish broth
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, stems removed and chopped

Heat about half the olive oil, enough to cover the pan, in a large skillet over high heat for about 30 seconds, until the oil is hot but not smoking. Add the mushroom slices and half the garlic and cook until the mushrooms are soft but still firm, about 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions in a large pot of boiling, salted water.

While the pasta cooks, put the remaining olive oil and the red pepper flakes in the same skillet over high heat for about 30 seconds, or until the oil is hot but not smoking. Brown the salmon in the hot oil for about 1 minute on all sides, add the remaining garlic, and cook briefly, until the garlic begins to turn golden brown. Add the sherry, return the mushrooms to the pan, cook for 1 minute, and add the Marinara Sauce, puréed peppers, sun-dried tomato slices, and fish broth. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sauce starts to boil. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the cream, and simmer for 1 minute more, until the sauce thickens. Add a bit more broth if the sauce is too thick, and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, drain the pasta and toss it in a large serving bowl with the liquid portion of the sauce. Transfer the pasta to individual serving plates and top each serving with the sautéed ingredients. Adjust seasoning, and sprinkle with parsley.

Seafood Risotto

Seafood risotto is usually made with the seafood cooked right into the risotto, as you stir. Although it makes a wonderful dish, I find that the seafood can easily become overcooked and get lost in the risotto, or that some diners can get lots while others get cheated. I find that flavoring the risotto with a seafood broth and then topping it with sautéed seafood is an unbeatable combination.
Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 pound risotto, made from Arborio rice prepared according to package directions and kept warm (see note)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 dozen small clams, rinsed
  • 2 dozen small mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 12 large sea scallops (wild or bay farmed)
  • 12 medium to large shrimp, shelled, cleaned, and deveined
  • 1/2 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup White Wine Sauce (see below)
  • 1/4 cup clam juice or fish broth
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, stems removed and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 to 6 lemon wedges, for garnish

Prepare the risotto. Either keep the finished risotto warm in a 200ºF. oven or cook it while you prepare the rest of this recipe.

Put the olive oil and red pepper flakes in a large sauté pan over high heat for about 30 seconds, or until the oil is hot but not smoking. Cook the clams, mussels, and scallops (on both sides) for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the clams begin to open and the scallops begin to turn opaque. Add the shrimp and cook everything for 1 minute more, until the shrimp turn pink on one side. Turn the shrimp, add the garlic, and cook for a few seconds, until the garlic begins to turn golden.

Cook the tomatoes for another 30 seconds. Add the wine, White Wine Sauce, and clam juice or fish broth, and cook for about 1 minute more, just until the sauce begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the butter and cream if desired, simmer for about a minute until the sauce thickens, remove from the heat, and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, stir some of the liquid part of the sauce into the risotto, then spoon the risotto onto individual serving plates. Top each serving with the remainder of the sauce and the seafood. If desired, arrange the mussels all along the rim of the platter or plate, then add the seafood in the center. Sprinkle with the parsley, salt and pepper, and garnish each serving plate with a lemon wedge.

Note: Arborio rice, for making risotto, is sold in 1-kilogram boxes (2.2 pounds) and comes in two packages. The cooking time is about 15 minutes, but it’s best prepared slightly underdone because it will continue cooking after it’s removed from the heat.

Quick Marinara Sauce

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 anchovy fillet, chopped (optional)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounce) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 or 3 whole basil leaves (on stalk)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a 4- to S-quart saucepan over medium heat for about 30 seconds. Cook the onion and anchovy in the hot oil for about 2 minutes, until they are soft. Sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds, or until it begins to brown. Remove the pan from the heat and add the tomatoes and basil leaves. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 45 minutes until you have a thick, rich sauce (Add a bit of water if too thick). Stir occasionally to prevent bits of the tomatoes from sinking to the bottom of the pan and burning. Season with salt and pepper.

Tilapia Pomodoro (This is a low-fat recipe)

Tilapia, a Central American white fish, comes from Costa Rica but most today, is farmed. Its taste is mild, but its most important attribute is its firmness, which helps it maintain its shape regardless of cooking method. Delicate fillets, such as flounder or sole, will fall apart in the cooking process. If you don’t want to use tilapia, choose among the many other varieties of firm, meaty fillets, such as catfish (farmed), halibut (pacific) salmon (wild Alaskan), etc. As long as the fish is not overly delicate, it will work fine in this recipe.
Makes 2 servings


  • 3/4 cup fish broth
  • 1/2 medium clove garlic, minced
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 tilapia fillets, (farmed) about 8 ounces each
  • 1/4 cup medium-bodied red wine
  • 2 cups plum tomatoes, cut in medium dice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves, sliced, plus 2 whole leaves, for garnish
  • 2 cups rice or risotto, cooked according to package directions (see note)

Put 1/4 cup of the fish broth in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Sauté the garlic and pepper flakes in the hot broth for 30 seconds. Put the fish fillets and another 1/4 cup of the fish broth in the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the liquid has almost evaporated and the bottom of the fish begins to brown slightly. Brown the second side of the fish for about 30 seconds more.

Add the wine and cook for another 30 seconds, until the wine begins to evaporate. Cook the tomatoes, salt, and pepper for about 30 seconds until the tomatoes begin to soften. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of broth and cook for about 2 minutes more, until the fish turns opaque. Add a bit more broth, if needed, then the sliced basil. Remove from the heat.

To serve, spoon 1 cup of rice or risotto on each serving plate. Using a large spatula, place a fish fillet over each mound of rice or risotto, top with the tomato sauce, and garnish each plate with a basil leaf. Serve immediately.

Note: Risotto is made from a package of Arborio rice.

~ by jacqueline1230 on October 31, 2007.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s