Seppie con Piselli (Stewed Cuttlefish With Peas) 4.000

Helen Horton for The Washington Post

Jan 1, 2014

Cuttlefish or squid gently stewed with peas in a tomato sauce is a popular dish in many Abruzzese homes on Christmas Eve.

We found cuttlefish at BlackSalt Fish Market in the Palisades. If you buy it and clean it yourself, you'll need a total of 4 cuttlefish (about 4 pounds) to yield enough cleaned cuttlefish for this recipe. A nonreactive skillet is called for because of the acidic ingredients; enameled cast iron, stainless steel and nonstick cookware are good choices.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated with a Microplane zester
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pounds fresh, cleaned cuttlefish (see headnote)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 14 1/2 ounces canned whole tomatoes, hand crushed, and their juices
  • 1 cup fish stock or low-sodium vegetable broth, or more as needed
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 1/2 cups frozen/defrosted peas
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


Heat the oil in a large (at least 12-inch) nonreactive skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion, garlic and bay leaf, stirring to coat. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the onion is translucent.

Use a small, sharp knife to score the inside of the cuttlefish in a crosshatch pattern; this will help mitigate any rubbery texture. Then cut into narrow 2-inch strips.

Add the cuttlefish to the skillet and stir to coat; cook for 3 minutes, until it’s just beginning to become opaque. Add the wine; cook for 7 or 8 minutes or until the wine has evaporated (leaving a slightly viscous liquid from the cuttlefish and oil in the bottom of the skillet), then add the tomatoes and their juices and the fish stock or vegetable broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Once the mixture begins to bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for 25 minutes or until the cuttlefish is easily pierced with a sharp knife. Stir in the peas; cook for 5 minutes or until just heated through.

If the mixture becomes too thick, add stock or broth as needed. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Divide among individual bowls; garnish with the chopped parsley and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe by Joe Cicala, executive chef at Le Virtù in Philadelphia.

Tested by Helen Horton.

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