Sicilian Stuffed Calamari

Let’s talk calamari. A great protein, firm texture, not too fishy, and healthy – that is if you don’t deep fry it. It is relatively easy to find and not expensive. Here it is stuffed with bread crumbs flavored with anchovies, pine nuts and parmesan and cooked in a classic Sicilian tomato sauce prepared with capers and anchovies. Great served over pasta. Something a little different and fun that won’t tip the scale.

Calamari ripieni con pinoli, acciughe e capperi
Calamari stuffed with pine nuts, anchovy and capers
Based on the recipe in I Sapori della Cucina Siciliana

1 lb calamari – bodies and tentacles mixed
Olive oil for sautéing

For stuffing
2 slices day old bread
¼ cup pine nuts – lightly toasted in a dry pan over high heat
½ cup parmesan – grated finely (preferably with a Microplane grater)
2 anchovy fillets  – chopped
1 egg – lightly beaten

Toothpicks to close the calamari

For sauce
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 anchovy fillets
1 cup white wine
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 T capers
1 T chopped parsley
Salt to taste

Generally in the US calamari is sold already cleaned with bodies separated from the tentacles. If not, clean the squid removing the hard plastic type bone and cut off the tentacles. Chop the tentacles very fine. 

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a non-stick skillet and sauté the tentacles for a few minutes over medium-high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set the skillet aside and let cool while preparing the rest of the stuffing.

In a food processor pulse until medium fine the 2 slices of bread and most of the pine nuts – leave a few to put in the sauce at the end. Add the parmesan and pulse 2-3 times to combine.

Pour the mixture in a bowl and add the sautéed tentacles, chopped anchovies and beaten egg. Mix lightly until evenly moist, being careful not to compress the mixture.

Using a small spoon, stuff the calamari with the mixture, again being careful not to pack or compress the stuffing. Leave enough room to close the top with a toothpick. Insert the toothpick like you would a pin to close the top.

After all the calamari are stuffed and closed, heat some olive oil in a skillet and brown the calamari over high heat, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from the pan. Add the onion to the same pan, adding more olive oil if necessary. Sautee the onion over medium heat until the onion softens and begins to color. Add the garlic and the second two anchovy fillets. Sauté for a couple more minutes, breaking the anchovy up into the onion and garlic. Add the white wine and loosen any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, capers and the stuffed calamari and cook for about 40 minutes, turning the calamari from time to time.

Correct the seasoning. It probably won’t need any additional salt as the capers and anchovies are already salty. Add the parsley and remaining pine nuts and serve.

3 thoughts

  1. I love squids but never tried cooking them this way before. This recipe sounds very interesting. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for the comment. I took a quick look at your blog and will return to it later when I have more time. I’m very interested in Asian cooking; in fact, Vietnam in going to be my next project.

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