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Stuffed Calamari in tomato sauce

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

October-December, this is the season for the big, fresh, Atlantic calamari. This dish takes a little time, and I enjoy immensley making it. Anybody that tried it loved it to bits!

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  • 2 biggish calamari, 300-320gr each, make sure that their skin is intact (after cleaning them, they ended up being 420gr in total for me)

  • 120gr fresh breadcrumbs

  • 3 biggish garlic cloves, diced for the stuffing

  • 2 biggish garlic cloves, diced for the sauce

  • 4 biggish shallots, diced (2 for the stuffing, 2 for the sauce)

  • 4 Tbsp dry parsley (or 6 Tbsp if fresh, washed and chopped parsley)

  • 1 tsp fine salt (for the stuffing only)

  • 2 tsp freshly ground white pepper (1 for the stuffing, 1 for the sauce)

  • 1/2 glass of dry white wine

  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes

  • Some extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 anchovies fillets preserved in oil, drained, or 2 good slugs of anchovie paste

You'll need:

  • Scissors

  • A good sharp paring knife

  • A bowl to mix the stuffing in

  • A baking tray with tall sides

  • A wide pan

  • Kitchen string- make sure it's cotton and not plastic

  • A darning needle


  • Wash the calamari, and if they weren't cleaned by your fishmonger (I never let them, as I want to ensure the skin remains intact, and to remove only the necessary bits from the head, as I use that as well), remove delicately the interiors and the flat fishbone (just pull them out slowly), remove the beak and the eyes

  • Skin them well revealing the white meat

  • Cut out the wings, the tentacles, and the heads and dice them all up

  • Heat up some oil in the pan, and stir fry half the garlic and half the shallots until soft and translucent - do not let them brown

  • Add the pieces of calamari you diced up, stir and keep on high heat for 2 mins

  • Add the parsley, some salt and pepper, the parsley, and the wine

  • Reduce the heat to medium, stir and cover the pan - let it cook for 5 mins or until the liquids have been absorbed

  • Strain the content of the pan, juices included if any, in your bowl and set aside to reach room temperature

  • Put the pan back on the hob, add some more oil, then add the remainig garlic and shallots

  • Again, stir fry until soft and translucent - do not let it go brown

  • Add the anchovy fillets and break them down well with a wooden spoon

  • Add the tomato tins

  • Add the parsley and the pepper, stir well and reduce the heat to medium

  • Cover the pan and let it simmer for 15 mins or so

  • Work on your stuffing: add half of the breadcrumbs, the remaining parsleyand mix well

  • Continue adding the breadcrumbs, mixing well between additions: you may not finish the measured quantity, as you need to ensure it's not too "bready", the fish content must be quite visible (see below)

  • Add some olive oil to the stuffing (but don't wet it with it!)

  • Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees C (fan)

  • Fill the calamari tubes pushing the stuffing well down the bottom while doing so: use 1 Tbsp of stuffing, then using your tablespoon handle delicately push it down to the bottom, and continue like this reaching slowly the opening, leaving a little space as you'll need to close them up

  • Thread your kitchen string into your darning needle

  • Saw them up in big stitches

  • Put a layer of sauce into your baking tray, put the calamari into it, then cover them all up with the remaining sauce

  • Put them in the oven, in the middle shelf, and reduce the temperature to 180 degrees C

  • Bake for 20-25 mins

  • Remove the kitchen thread

  • Slot them into your serving dish and cover with the remaining sauce

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