You can double this recipe and serve it as a side dish – Italians actually use it as a second course – or make it as written and mix it in with spaghetti, serve it with rice… or surprise your guests by serving it on a little warm rectangle of white polenta – as seafood is served in the Friuli and Veneto regions of Italy.

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or larger none 15-20 min. High(2) Normal

4.2 from 5 reviews
Calamari in Umido - Calamari Tomato Sauce pressure cooker recipe
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1½lb (800g) calamari fresh or frozen, thawed and drained
  • 14.5 oz or 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup of white wine
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2 anchovies
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
To clean the calamari:
  1. Detach the head from the "hat". Pull carefully, as most of the innards that are attached to the head will come out when you pull.
  2. Under running water, pull the skin off the little hat and run water inside it to get out anything else that might still be stuck in there.
  3. While you are cleaning, you might feel a stiff, plastic-like cartilage quill. The end will be sticking out at the open edge of the hat where there is a little point. Just tug on it gently and pull it out. Set the little hat aside, it is clean!
  4. Next, separate the tentacles from the eyes - keep the tentacles and throw the rest away.
  5. Grab the tentacles and feel in the middle for the little beak. You can just pop it by squeezing the sides gently, or by pushing it from behind.
  6. Then, just slice the little hat into strips.
    If you have never cleaned calamari before, I recommend you watch this video before cleaning- do not worry, it will not take you 5 minutes per squidl! It took me a little less than 10 minutes to clean all of the calamari for this recipe.
To cook the calamari:
  1. In the cold pressure cooker, add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, the garlic clove, the pinch of hot pepper and anchovies.
  2. Turn the flame on the lowest setting and, with the top off, swish everything around to flavor the oil (about 3 minutes).
  3. Next, add the calamari and lightly color them (about 5 minutes).
  4. Then add the wine and let it evaporate a bit (about 3 minutes).
  5. Finally, add the can chopped tomatoes, refill the can with water and add that, and half of the chopped parsley and swoosh everything around.
  6. Close the lid and set the valve to pressure cooking position.
  7. Electric pressure cookers: Cook for 20 minutes at high pressure.
    Stove top pressure cookers: Lock the lid, and cook for 15 minutes at high pressure.
  8. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure.
  9. Mix in the lemon juice, a spritz of extra virgin olive oil and fresh parsley to serve!


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  1. Wow, I’ve never thought using a pressure cooker for pasta sauce! This pasta looks fabulous. In fact, I’ve never used a pressure cooker for seafood either. I guess I have so many things I could learn from here.

  2. This recipe sounds super good, the picture is mouthwatering too! Well done :)!

  3. Followed the link from the NYTimes, looks like several of your photos are blurry, the zucchini and peperota ones. Your aim and shoot camera is not choosing the best spot to focus. Might ought to get a Nikon D40 or something like that so YOU can focus better.

  4. Friuli Venezia Giulia, please. Thanks!

  5. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for your DJ comments. I think as far as composition you just need some angle changes. Move around a bit…pull back…shoot overheads. Be playful and varied with your shots and you’ll find a good mix in your images.


    Andrew Scrivani

  6. I vote for the polenta serving option – I’d even serve it on soft polenta. The sauce sounds amazingly flavourful with the wine & anchovies.

  7. I’d would really love to try this recipe. Is there any provision to print it? I have registered for your
    email updates.

  8. Hi Carol, at the moment, you can just print the whole page with by clicking “Ctrl-P”, but I am looking for a better solution… so stay tuned!

    Ciao and thank you for your question.


  9. This is the kind of recipe that gets me excited. I just got my pressure cooker and made amazing chicken soup. Next pea soup which I burnt.
    I will attempt this next and get back to you.


    1. Ron, how did you like the Calamari?!?



  10. Mmmm…this looks wonderful. I’m going to make this tonight! I love calamari and don’t cook it nearly as much as I would like – thanks for the great recipe!

  11. I have now made this Squid recipe twice. Both times, I cut the sauce quantities in approx. half, because I used only 1/2 pound of squid.

    The recipe is very tasty, very easy (especially because squid is sold cleaned where I live) and it is amazingly TENDER! No “rubber band” tough rings at all, either time.

    I just enjoyed it over rice.

    1. It’s 2017, time for an update —

      This is still one of my absolute favorite pressure cooker recipes. Tonight’s version included some sliced black olives — because I HAD pitted black olives. Delightful. I tend to “up” the anchovies to 3 instead of 2, and I saute a little minced garlic because I once lost the smashed clove until I ate it by mistake.

      I stopped adding water, since there’s plenty of liquid between the (reduced) wine and the juice from the tomatoes. I add salt & pepper before putting the pressure cooker lid on.

      I’ve never had any luck “coloring” the calamari by sauteing them, but I try, Laura, every time.

      Still tender, and delicious as always. Tonight — over linguine.

      Happy New Year!

  12. As soon as I get to the store I am making this! I just did beans in my Instant Pot and will put this wonderful dish on top of beans instead of pasta. I can hardly wait to taste it. Great recipe

  13. Hi! Sounds like a great recipe. The only question is: what do you mean by “lowering the heat to the lowest setting to maintain pressure”? My Instant Pot doesn’t have anything to raise or lower the heat. I can only adjust the cooking time or select various modes – Manual, Meat/Stew, Chicken, Soup, etc.

    1. Hi Elena and welcome,
      This is an old recipe that was written before Laura got an Electric PC.
      Those instructions refer to using a stove top PC.

      Your Electric does it all for you.
      Simply set Manual, High pressure, 20 minutes (Use the longer cooking time with Electrics!) and press “Start”. Turn the knob to release pressure when the IP beeps to let you know it is done.

      Now that it has been pointed out, I am sure Laura will do a re-write. :)

      1. Thank you Greg and welcome Elena. Done!



  14. Thank you Greg! I’m making it tonight!

  15. My 12 qt Kuhn Rikon came in today. This was the first recipe I tried. All I can say is WOW on the KR. I doubled this recipe, put my electric stove on High and the PC came up to pressure in 3 minutes. I thought it must be defective, but it was indeed at pressure as the food was cooked when I lifted the valve and blew off the pressure after 15 minutes. I am in love!

    As for the recipe, I changed it a bit and think I messed it up. I added artichoke hearts, capers, portobello mushrooms, onions, poblano pepper, fresh basil, thyme, and rosemary. The “sauce” was delicious but liquid. Should I have not added a second can of water since I used two cans of tomatoes?

    Everything was cooked perfectly, btw. The calamari was tender and perfect. The family would have loved it except they complained that it needed to be thickened.

    1. Well, that’s a lot of flavors to use all at once.

      Anyway, since this is a “braising” type recipe when you double it you just need to ensure there is enough water for the cooker to reach pressure, you don’t need to double that, too.



      P.S. Three minutes is excessively short. Is your stove electric or induction?

  16. It’s electric! I’m afraid to try the induction on it.

  17. I so wanted to like this… Very bland. The texture of the Squid was strange. OH well.

  18. This recipe was fantastic! Loved it! The calamari was incredibly tender and tasty!!

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