Cuttlefish with peas is a much-loved Mediterranean dish where it’s common to find seafood paired with something seasonal from the vegetable patch.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 700 g (1 lb 9 oz) cuttlefish, squid or calamari hoods, cleaned and cut into 4-cm (1½-in) pieces
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 100 g (3½ oz) pancetta, finely diced
  • 1 white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sweet pimentòn
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) dry white wine
  • 3 tomatoes, grated, skins discarded
  • 375 ml (12½ fl oz/1½ cups) good-quality fish stock, plus extra if needed
  • 300 g (10½ oz) fresh or frozen peas
  • parsley leaves, to serve
  • crusty bread or boiled potatoes, to serve (optional)
  • lemon wedges, to serve (optional)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Sitting time: 30 minutes

  1. Place the cuttlefish, squid or calamari in a large bowl and cover with plenty of cold water. Stir through half the salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towel. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the pancetta, onion and garlic, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Gently sauté for 10–15 minutes, until the onion is soft and lightly coloured. Stir through the pimentòn, then add the wine and cook until evaporated. Increase the heat slightly, add the tomato and simmer quite vigorously until the tomato and onion have reduced to a paste. Stir through the cuttlefish and cook until it turns opaque, then pour in the fish stock, reduce the heat and partially cover with a lid. Simmer gently for 40–50 minutes, until the cuttlefish is extremely soft and tender. If the cuttlefish still has some resistance, add a little more stock and continue to cook until soft.
  3. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary, then add the peas and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes if using fresh peas or 8 minutes if using frozen.
  4. Divide the cuttlefish and peas among plates and top with a few parsley leaves. Serve with chunks of crusty bread or boiled potatoes and lemon wedges on the side, if you like.


Recipes and images from Islas: Food of the Spanish Islands by Emma Warren, Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99