Lorenza’s stuffed calamari
Cooking time: 90 minutes
(serves 2 as main dish)
- 400g small to medium-size calamari (alternatively, cuttle fish or squid), whole – keep the tentacles for the filling;
For the filling
2 bunches of parsley, washed, air-dried and finely chopped (remove stems)
The remaining calamari tentacles, chopped
4 prawns, cut into small chunks
2 medium potatoes
For the sauce
- 600g fresh tomatoes (about 6 to 8 medium-size ones) . If the skin is thick, remove it by placing tomatoes for 2 minutes in boiling water. Once they cool down, peel the skin off. It will come off easily.)
- OR 400 g canned tomatoes, peeled (Italians prefer fresh ones or a homemade puree ☺)
- An abundance of extra virgin olive oil
- 4 Toothpicks (or one for each of your calamari)
- For an extra Italian twist: one small anchovy, capers (about 15) and garlic.
- Traditionally, anchovies are the x-factor in many Italian sauces.
- Cut potatoes into big chunks and steam or boil them until soft.
- Chop off the calamari heads, remove ink sacs and keep the tentacles only. Clean the calamari by taking out its cartilage.
- Transfer finely chopped parsley into a bowl, mix it with raw egg and mashed potatoes. Add chunks of prawns and chopped calamari tentacles. You want to create a diversity of textures by keeping your prawns and tentacles bigger than your other ingredients to enjoy them when eating. The filling should be wet and almost creamy but not liquid. Season with salt.
- Stuff each of your calamari with the above filling and close its end with a toothpick like you were sewing it with a needle. The point is to prevent the stuffing from spilling out from the calamari.
- Heat the pan adding two teaspoons of olive oil, one anchovy and a grated clove of garlic. Mash the anchovy until it dissolves in the oil.
- Once the garlic turns golden, add tomato puree or chopped tomatoes (If the tomatoes are not very ripe, let them cook a bit longer before adding calamari. Use a wooden spatula to mash them in the olive oil). You can let tomatoes simmer for 10 minutes before adding calamari.
- Stir in capers and arrange calamari around the pan. Poke them with a toothpick to let the air out, otherwise they may burst open during cooking. Spoon some sauce and over your calamari in the pan and leave to cook.
- Turn the calamari after 3 to 4 minutes.
- As they cook, the calamari will expand in size and the egg liquid will leak out of your stuffing and combine with tomatoes creating a creamy sauce.
- Depending on the size of your calamari, you will need to simmer them from 20 minutes (for small ones) to 30-35 minutes (for bigger ones). If your sauce is getting too thick, add some water to it.
- Turn off the heat and let the calamari cool down. Small pieces can be served as they are, for bigger ones, slice them into 2 centimeter wide rings. Serve with the tomato sauce and a slice of artisanal bread.