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A wonderful way to cook and eat calamari which goes together surprisingly (or unsurprisingly for many) well with borlotti beans. It is well worth seeking out fresh borlotti beans in this recipe as the aromatics used to flavour their cooking water add another layer, something that you’ll miss with canned ones, although they are of course a fine substitute.  I usually will always buy the fresh ones if I see them – I really can’t resist their painterly pods and beans, even though they turn a pinky-grey colour once plunged into boiling water. Just be sure to rinse the canned ones well before adding them in if you take that route. Chickpeas are also great here. Most leafy greens can be used instead of the spinach - kale or silverbeet would work well too.  


600g fresh borlotti beans (300g shelled)

2 fresh bay leaves

2 cloves of garlic, left whole

4 pepper corns

Few stalks of parsley

1 dried chilli, plus extra for serving (optional)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving

400g Calamari, sliced into rings around 5mm in thickness

200g tinned or jarred tomato, drained and roughly chopped

1 bunch of english Spinach (approximately 150g of leaves)

Small handful of parsley, roughly chopped

Juice of a lemon

Sea salt

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Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add in the beans along with the bay leaves, garlic, pepper corns, parsley stalks and chilli. Allow to simmer for around 25-30 minutes, or until beans are tender. Drain the beans and set aside. All of the aromatics can be added later on too, just be sure to remove the skin of the garlic.

Place a heavy-based pan onto a high heat and fry the calamari until just opaque. Reduce the heat to medium and add in the cooked or canned beans, along with any of the aromatics used when cooking them. Add in the tomatoes and spinach and simmer for around 10 minutes or until spinach is well-cooked and the liquid has thickened slightly. If it is beginning to dry out, add a touch of water.  Stir through the parsley and lemon juice and drizzle generously with olive oil and some extra chilli if desired. Check for seasoning and adjust with sea salt as needed. Serve with crusty bread to soak up all of the juices.