Calamari Carbonara Recipe

Posted February 17, 2014 by Stephanie
squid carbonara recipe

Clearly, I love eggs. In fact, eggs are one of the most tagged items on this blog. I love eggs almost as much as I love potatoes and noodles. And, depending on my mood, maybe even a little more so because they’re kind of sort of good for you. Protein packed and in their own convenient little eco-friendly packaging (shell), eggs are  nature’s perfect food. I know science goes between saying that eggs are good/bad for you, but I figure, everything in moderation is always a good thing.

calamari carbonara recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

Of course, if you’re going to have eggs, you should have bacon. And if you’re going to have eggs and bacon, why not make yourself some carbonara? Carbonara is everything good in life – crispy pork bits and creamy, cheesy, eggy sauce. The first time I made carbonara, I scrambled the eggs accidentally. It still tasted good, but it wasn’t that silky sauce that you’re looking for. The key, I’ve found, is adding in a touch of starchy pasta water. Then again, this recipe doesn’t even have pasta in it, so you don’t need to worry about that.

calamari carbonara recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

I love a big plate of pasta as much as everyone else, but one day, when I was cleaning out the freezer I found a long forgotten bag of frozen calamari tubes. I was going to go to town and deep fry them, but instead decided to cut them into noodle-y slivers and carbonara them up. I got the idea from Pidgin, a fantastic casual fine dining place in Vancouver. They do a super delicious squid noodle yakisoba.

calamari carbonara recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

This dish is totally carb and gluten free, but the best part is that it’s incredibly delicious. I definitely recommend cutting the calamari a bit thinner for a more refined looking plate. Otherwise, if you’re just looking for a quick, but different down home kind of carbonara, give this a try!

calamari carbonara recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

Calamari Carbonara Recipe
serves 2

  • 1 lb clean calamari bodies (tubes)
  • 6 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley, or to taste

Cut the calamari tubes into noodles. I sliced them into 1/4 inch rings (try 1/8 inch) and then made a cut in the rings so they turned into ribbons of calamari. If you prefer, you can slice them lengthwise, so you don’t have to make two cuts. Set the “noodles” aside in a bowl.

Bring a pot of water to boil and keep it on a low simmer.

In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, lightly beat the egg, add the cheese, a liberal grinding of pepper, and the chopped parsley. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

In large sauté pan over medium heat, fry the bacon pieces until crispy. Leave the bacon in the pan and scoop off the rendered fat, leaving about a tablespoon left in the pan. Remove from the heat.

Quickly blanch the calamari noodles, about 30-45 seconds. When cooked, the calamari looses it’s transparency and turns opaque. Drain, making sure to save some of the calamari liquid and then add the cooked calamari to the sauté pan. Turn the heat on low – generally, when making carbonara, you don’t need to turn the heat on again, but since the calamari noodles lose heat more quickly than pasta, a low heat is needed to help the sauce come together. Toss to coat each strand of calamari in the bacon fat. Pour in the egg mixture and toss rapidly, coating well. If needed, add a bit of hot reserved water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to help melt the cheese and cook the egg. Serve immediately.

calamari carbonara recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com


  1. Sophie says:

    RAD! This sounds delicious

    1. steph says:

      Thanks Sophie! :D

  2. I AM ALL OVER THIS, Steph. Holyyy moly. I adore carbonara, but can never justify making it for dinner because of its sheer carbstrosity-ness. And I can never really get on the vegetable-noodle train. But squid? I am all about that squid. This is so genius. Can’t wait to try it.

    1. steph says:

      aww, thanks so much!!! i love the texture of squid as noodles :)

  3. Such a great idea!!! Love this.

    1. steph says:

      Thanks Laura!

  4. Erika says:

    I love this!! The idea of squid as noodles sounds like an incredible combination of texture and flavors..

    1. steph says:

      Thanks Erika! I love the slight chewiness of squid as noodles.

  5. Pang says:

    OMG!!!! I can’t wait to make this. This could be one of my favorite ever!!!! Thank you for sharing :)

  6. This would be perfect with a homemade pancetta! ;P

  7. Love this!! as usual, beautiful pictures

    1. steph says:

      Thanks Tracy! :D

  8. Jody says:

    Sounds so ono (delicious)! I’m going to make some right now. Thank you!

  9. Lisa says:

    Ok…..I just found your blog. I think I love you.

  10. Gerry Goozee says:

    Just found the blog too. LOVE IT!!!!!! ..Squid carbonara…..oy Vay !
    A cookbook to boot……..life is good.

    1. steph says:

      thank you so much gerry!! xoxo

  11. JohnC says:

    This sounds absolutely disgusting.

  12. Rachel S says:

    What an awesome recipe! What squid do you suggest purchasing? The thawed squid in the seafood counter are always so small and thin (and definitely don’t look as thick as the ones you used in the recipe). Are frozen squid typically thicker?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi rachel,
      i went with frozen squid – they usually come in a variety of sizes :)

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