By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
This recipe is a traditional dish of Tuscany and Liguria, and it has the taste of the sea and the earth—a perfect combination of traditional Italian flavors. I adore this simple and tasty dish. When I was a little girl, our house always smelled so good when my mother used to cook it. It is a genuine Italian dish, very easy to make, and is always welcome at every table in Florence.
The term in zimino refers to a whole class of dishes in which the main ingredient (usually seafood) is braised in spinach or Swiss chard with a spicy sauce. To achieve the perfect original taste, use fresh ingredients—but you can use frozen spinach and frozen squid if you have to— but I never do.
It’s a simple recipe, but the preparation of cleaning the squid and spinach takes some time. So be patient; it will be a wonderful dish! It’s a spicy recipe, so don’t be afraid to put a lot of chilli flakes in it! Remember to serve it with toasted Italian bread on the bowl, it absorbs the spicy sauce and is so delicious!
*Tip: Always taste while you are cooking— squid has to be tender and not gummy. Chewy squid is not good! The secret is not overcook it.
Seppie in Zimino—
The Original Tuscan Recipe
18 oz (500 g) squid
18 oz (500 g) spinach
1 clove of garlic
4 Tbs Extra Virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
A splash of white wine
1–2 Tbs tomato sauce
A pinch of red pepper flakes or more
Clean spinach and finely chop.
Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add garlic and spinach along with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Cook covered over medium heat.
Meanwhile, clean the squid and cut into slices.
Add the squid rings to the pan with a splash of white wine.
When wine is evaporated, add the tomato sauce and simmer for five minutes.
Serve in a bowl with a slice of toasted bread.
Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup, Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), and Superfoods, Ippo is currently finishing her latest work, The Lords of Florence (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).