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Stuffed Calamari Recipes
Stuffed Calamari
The word calamari is the plural form of the Italian word for squid, calamaro. Squid is a popular food in many parts of the world because almost the entire body of the squid can be eaten.  Many people in North American have only eaten calamari that have been cut into rings, batter-coated, and deep fried.  But squid lends itself to many other cooking methods, one of them being stuffed and baked.  Calamari meat is firm and white with a mild, slightly sweet flavor.  Many people believe that calamari is 'as tough as rubber bands' but when properly prepared it is a surprisingly tender and delicious seafood dish.
In recent years it has become common to find cleaned squid in local fish markets.  For stuffed squid, buy squid tubes or bodies that are about 4 to 6 inches long. Some of the stuffing recipes use chopped tentacles, so ask your fishmonger to include these if you need them.  Rinse the squid well before stuffing them. Fill the tubes with the stuffing without over-packing them so they don't burst during cooking.  Although I've seen people sew the end of the tubes closed with a needle and thread, I find that simply closing them with a toothpick is adequate.
Calamari Stuffed with Porcini Mushrooms, Bread, and Cheese
Calamari Stuffed with Bread Crumbs, Pine Nuts, and Raisins
Cheese-Stuffed Calamari
Seafood-Stuffed Calamari
Rice-Stuffed Calamari
How to Clean a Squid:

Cleaning squid is a fairly messy task and is not for the squeamish.  Place the squid in a bowl, work over a sink, and have a cutting board nearby. Start by removing the thin brownish-gray membrane that covers the body. This usually comes off fairly easily.  Also remove the fins. Hold the body firmly, grasp the head and tentacles, give them a twist and pull them from the body. Cut the tentacles from the head and reserve them if required. Inside the body there is a piece of clear cartilage that simply pulls out.  Remove and discard it.  Sometimes there is some fleshy, white membranes inside the bodies, simply squeeze the body between your finger to force it out. Rinse the tubes under running water and they are ready to be stuffed.
Calamari Stuffed with Porcini Mushrooms,
Bread, and Cheese

(Serves 2)


1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup cubed Italian bread
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons parsley
Salt and pepper
1/2 pounds squid  (bodies only)
Traditional Tomato Sauce
Additional Parmesan for sprinkling


Soak porcini mushrooms in 2 cups hot water for 30 minutes. Rinse and chop coarsely. Sauté onions in olive oil until soft, 2-3 minutes. Combine all of the ingredients, except the squid and tomato sauce, in a bowl.  Mix well. Stuff the mixture into the squid.  Do not overfill or they will burst during cooking. Close the end of the squid with a toothpick. Pour a little of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Place the stuffed squid on top.  Pour a little more sauce over each. Cover and bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 30 minutes. Remove cover. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over and cook an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove the toothpicks before serving.
Calamari Stuffed with Bread Crumbs, Pine Nuts, and Raisins

(Serves 4)


12 medium-sized squid
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup homemade breadcrumbs
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and chpped
1/4 cup pine nuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins, plumped in hot water for 30 minutes, chopped
3/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 eggs
2 (15 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper


Clean the squid by removing the head, fins, and all contents in the body.
Peel off the skin and rinse the tubes. Remove the tentacles from the head.
Chop the tentacles fine and set aside for the stuffing.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and brown the chopped tentacles.
Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Remove from heat and set aside.       

In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, anchovies, capers, pine nuts, raisins,
1/2 cup parsley and eggs. Add the tentacle mixture.  Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Stuff the squid tubes with the mixture and seal each with a toothpick. Place the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the stuffed squid and brown on all sides. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove the toothpicks.
Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with remaining parsley.
Cheese-Stuffed Calamari

(Serves 8)


8 large squid, cleaned, tentacles reserved
1 pound ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
Flour for dredging
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups Traditional Tomato Sauce


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the tentacles in a saucepan with enough water to cover them.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.
Drain the tentacles and allow to cool.  Finely chop the cooled tentacles.

In a bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, pecorino, parsley, and cooked tentacles.
Season with salt and pepper. Stuff the cheese mixture into each of the squid bodies. Seal each opening with a toothpick.

Season the dredging flour with salt and pepper. Coat each stuffed squid with the flour, shaking off any excess. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the squid until they are golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the squid from the skillet and transfer them to a roasting pan. Drain the oil from the skillet and return it to the heat. Add the white wine and deglaze the pan by scraping up any brown bits. Continue cooking until the wine is reduced by half. Add the tomato sauce and cook for 1 minute. Pour the tomato sauce over the squid in the roasting pan. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 45 to 60 minutes until fork tender. Remove the toothpicks.
Transfer to a platter and serve.
Seafood-Stuffed Calamari

(Serves 10 as an appetizer)


1-1/4 cups olive oil, divided
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 pound scallops, chopped
1/2 pound small shrimp, shells removed
Salt and pepper
10 large squid, tentacles removed and chopped
1-1/2 cups Italian-flavored bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup white wine


Heat 1/2 cup of olive oil in a large skillet. Add half the shallots and sauté for
1 minute. Add the scallops, shrimp, salt and pepper, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the seafood with a slotted spoon to a bowl to cool. Add the chopped tentacles to the skillet and sauté until pink, 1-2 minutes. Transfer the tentacles with a slotted spoon to the bowl with the scallops and shrimp. Reserve the liquid in the skillet.

In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, 1/2 cup olive oil, parsley, and 1 teaspoon garlic. Season with salt and pepper.  Mix well to combine. Add the cooked seafood to the bread crumbs and stir to combine. If the mixture seems too dry add a little more oil. Stuff each squid body with the seafood mixture and seal each end with a toothpick.

Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet. Add 2 tablespoons garlic, remaining shallots, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat until the garlic is lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved seafood liquid from the skillet and wine. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the stuffed squid and cook 7 to 8 minutes, basting often, until tender. Remove the toothpicks. Transfer the squid to a platter, pour the sauce over, and serve.
Rice-Stuffed Calamari

(Serves 4)


Tomato Sauce:
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper

1-1/2 pounds small to medium squid
1/3 cup olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
Pinch of saffron
Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt and pepper
2/3 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


To make the sauce:
Put the tomatoes, wine, parsley, and sugar in a saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer to desired consistency.

To make the stuffing:
Clean the by removing the head and tentacles. Pull out the quill and rinse the bodies. Finely chop the tentacles and set aside with the squid bodies.

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, fennel, and garlic and cook gently for 10 minutes until tender. Add the rice, saffron, red pepper flakes, and chopped tentacles. Cook a few minutes , stirring often, until the tentacles are opaque. Season with salt and pepper. Add the white wine and 6 tablespoons of the tomato sauce. Cook until the wine and tomato sauce has reduced into the rice. Add 1/2 cup water and continue cooking until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Add the parsley and cool for a few minutes.

Stuff the squid with the filling. Seal the ends with toothpicks.

Add 1/2 cup of water to the remaining tomato sauce. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add the stuffed squid, cover the saucepan, and simmer for 30-45 minutes until soft and tender. Remove the toothpicks before serving.
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