That sauce that tastes of the sea... the softness of the cuttlefish... the little tufts of curly tentacles that peep out on the plate... and the hint of sweetness from the peas... 

Mmm, yes! Cuttlefish with peas is one of our traditional dishes that’s very popular: minimum effort, amazing result. It’s guaranteed to make a great impression!

The origins of the recipe are unknown, with many regions claiming to be its birthplace: from Liguria to Lazio via Romagna and Le Marche. There is one common thread: we’re in central Italy, on both coasts – the Tyrrhenian and the Adriatic.

And sure enough, there are as many versions as there are questions: white or red, i.e. with tomato or without? I prefer it pinkish – my recipe does include tomato.

And also: with garlic or onion? Or both? It’s another quandary – one of our classic debates here in Italy, where we’re always talking about food!

And finally: is it better to eat it straight away or to wait? That’s right, because it also tastes great after a night in the fridge, soaking up the flavours beautifully. 

One thing’s for sure: it’s the perfect dish to celebrate spring, given the short season of our beloved peas.

Don’t panic, though! Since #forkEdition was created to simplify Italian cooking, bear in mind that you can make excellent cuttlefish with peas all year round – just opt for frozen ingredients. The only trick: be generous with flavourings and herbs!

Ready to plunge in? Let’s go! 


[preparation time: approx. 40 minutes – 5 preparation, 35 cooking]

Ingredients [serves 4]

  • 800 g cuttlefish, either fresh (net weight, already cleaned) or frozen
  • 500 g peas, fresh (already shelled) or frozen
  • 150 g tomato passata (or peeled tomatoes)
  • Half a white onion (or 1 shallot)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 glass of dry white wine
  • A generous sprig of fresh parsley
  • Oregano (if you like it – I would put it in everything)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper or chilli pepper (optional)


  • A saucepan (preferably ceramic)
  • The lid for the above ;)
  • A small knife for cutting the vegetables and cuttlefish
  • A chopping board


Start with a little sautéing: pour a drizzle of oil into the saucepan and brown the onion (or shallot) together with the garlic (both finely chopped) over a moderate heat, potentially adding half a glass of water. It’s a little trick to lower the temperature of the oil and make the fried ingredients easier to digest while maintaining their flavour.

If you like a little spice, add a bit of chilli pepper to the mixture. 

Even if the cuttlefish are small, I recommend cutting them in two, detaching the tuft of tentacles from the head. The two parts have different textures (the tentacles have more callouses, while the head is more tender), and it will also improve the presentation of the dish: the little tufts will poke out here and there.

Pour the cuttlefish into the pan, let them soak up the flavour for less than a minute, then add some of the parsley (already chopped) and the wine – turning up the heat and simmering so that the alcohol evaporates.

After a couple of minutes, add the tomato passata, then the peas. If you’re using peeled tomatoes, you should have already blended them with their juice to create a mixture that’s smooth rather than chunky.

Add salt to taste and wait for it to start simmering. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan and leave to cook for 20-25 minutes.

Can you smell the scent of the sea drifting through the house? 🥰 

That little dash of WOW? Fainish cooking without the lid on for a further 5 minutes so that some of the wateriness evaporates, creating a sauce that’s crying out to be mopped up with bread, or to season a pasta dish – like 90% of sauces made in Italy... ;) 

Garnish with the remaining parsley (and oregano, if you like) and leave to cool – again without the lid on – before serving. And voilà, your cuttlefish are ready to be devoured... go on, get stuck in! Or pop them in the fridge for a mouth-watering wait!

Buon appetito! 💗