12 squid, cleaned, tentacles reserved
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, leaves stripped and finely chopped
freshly ground pepper
crushed red pepper
¼ cup fine dry bread crumbs
¼ cup cognac
3 tablespoons onion, chopped
4 cups fresh peas, shelled
1 bunch scallions , trimmed and chopped (about 1 cup)
1½ cups vegetable stock, canned reduced-sodium chicken broth or water
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Leave the bodies whole and chop the tentacles into 1/4-inch pieces.
To make the stuffing: Heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and cook, shaking the pan, until golden, about 1 minute. Scatter the chopped tentacles over the oil, sprinkle the thyme over them and season lightly with crushed red pepper and salt. Cook until the liquid given off by the tentacles is evaporated and the tentacles begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in the Cognac, bring to a boil and cook until it is almost completely evaporated. Stir in the breadcrumbs and cook until they begin to toast, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Fill the calamari with the stuffing, dividing it evenly and packing it lightly into the body cavities. (An espresso spoon or small teaspoon is a good tool.) Seal the open end of the calamari with a toothpick.
Heat 4 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Slip as many of the stuffed calamari into the skillet as fit in a single layer. Cook, turning as necessary, until caramelized on both sides, about 8 minutes. Slip more calamari into the oil as those in the pan shrink. Transfer the calamari to a plate as they are done, leaving behind as much oil as possible. Stir the onions into the oil remaining in the pan and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Stir in the peas, season lightly with salt and crushed red pepper. Lower the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender, about 20 minutes for fresh peas or 10 minutes for frozen peas.
Return the calamari to the pan. Sprinkle the scallions over them, pour in the stock and season lightly with salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the sauce is simmering. Simmer, uncovered, until the calamari are tender and there is barely enough liquid to moisten the peas, about 20 minutes. Drizzle in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Transfer the calamari to warm plates or a platter and spoon the sauce and peas over and around them. Serve immediately.