There a few menu items that are a shoo-in when you eat out. At the top of that list are usually tequila cocktails, cheesecake and calamari. Whether you’re enjoying dim sum or an antipasto, you can’t pass up the token squid offering because you’re too scared to make it yourself. Newsflash: Cooking calamari is *way* easier than you think AND the recipe options are vastly more unique than your typical restaurant order. Don’t believe us? Here are 17 reasons why you should suck it up and embrace cooking calamari at home.


1. Soft Polenta With Calamari, Pancetta and Sage: The easiest way to cook calamari is to simply sauté it in olive oil or the drippings of pancetta or bacon. Spoon over creamy polenta and top with crispy sage for a remarkable and impressive course. (via Gourmet Traveller)


2. Steamed Buns With Crispy Calamari and Korean Sauce: Aside from your fingers, fluffy steamed buns are the ideal way to transport fried calamari to your mouth. Accent with a crunchy cucumber and radish salad to cut the richness of the dish. (via Cravings in Amsterdam)


3. Fried Calamari: Ahhh, the classic! You just can’t go wrong with simple fried calamari with a squeeze of lemon and aioli for dipping. If you can fry chicken, you can certainly take on this easy task. (via The Fork Bite)


4. Gluten-Free Fried Calamari: Swapping all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour means that even those who are gluten intolerant can enjoy the fried calamari phenom. Crack open a GF beer and dig in. (via The Luminous Kitchen)


5. Pan-Seared Calamari With Champagne and Garlic-Dill Lime Sauce: Calamari is always an elegant choice for dinner parties, but this recipe takes the cake. Serve with rice or fattoush salad to soak up all of the wonderful juices. (via The Mediterranean Dish)


6. Calamari Stuffed With Chorizo and Haloumi: Calamari doesn’t always have to be sliced into rings. Their hollow tubes are perfect for stuffing with meat, cheese and herbs. (via Best Recipes)


7. Calamari Fra Diavolo: This devilish spicy dish is sure to get the taste buds working. A crusty baguette on the side is totally necessary. (via Williams Sonoma)


8. Grilled Prawns and Calamari With Garlic Butter: This bright and lemony grilled dish is pretty much summer in a basket. Be sure you don’t marinate the seafood for too long because the acid in the lemon juice will start the cooking process. If one thing’s certain, no one likes rubbery calamari. (via Food to Love)


9. Linguine With Spicy Calamari: If you’re looking for a date night dish to remember, this pasta dish is pretty darn unforgettable. Let’s just say you’ll have your lover wrapped around your finger after this meal. (via Williams Sonoma)


10. Mediterranean Seafood Stew: Seafood enthusiasts will have a fit for this tuna, clam, shrimp and squid-filled stew. Enjoy with a glass of sherry and you’ll feel like you’re dining in the hills of Mykonos. (via Chile and Salt)


11. Creamy Chickpea Soup With Seared Calamari: This luxe soup is a barren canvas to support a host of other colorful flavors. Pour a drizzle of olive oil on top and delicately place a few expertly seared calamari pieces to the side to finish. (via Food52)


12. Spicy Grilled Calamari: Experiment with the tantalizing flavors of northern Africa with this effortless grilled calamari. Slide them on skewers and grill for five minutes to get that incredible char-grilled flavor. (via Food52)


13. Stir-Fried Salt and Pepper Squid With Red Chilli and Spring Onion: It’s time to upgrade your weekly stir-fry night with buttery calamari. Sauté with chiles and scallions before dishing up with a chilled cucumber salad on the side. (via The Happy Foodie)


14. Deep Fried Hot Butter Calamari Tacos: These street-style tacos will forever change the way you do taco Tuesday. Pile your tortilla high with hot butter calamari, lime and onions, and nosh away. (via Island Smile)


15. Stuffed Calamari With Tomato Sauce and Polenta: When you puree shrimp and scallops and bake inside a medium-sized squid, the result is nothing short of astounding. Trust that this delicious version of seafood inception is the ultimate crowd-pleaser. (via Art de Fête)


16. Buffalo Fried Calamari: Calamari doesn’t always have to be fancy pants. This spicy Buffalo version of fried calamari is perfect for a game day with your pals (male or female, or both). (via BuzzFeed)


17. Shrimps and Calamari in Garlicky Tomato Sauce: This healthy weeknight meal is uncomplicated and will be on the table in 20 minutes or less. Pour over whole wheat pasta for a complete dish that even the kiddos will adore. (via Beauty Bites)

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