Sunday, May 12, 2013


Stuffed Calamari
The first time I made stuffed calamari was several years ago for some friends who make the dish all the time.  It was perfect and since then, I've been making stuffed calamari from time to time.  I like this dish, which is adapted from Chef Anne Burrell's book, Cook Like a Rock Star.  I only use shrimps and fresh spinach for the stuffing.  I then make a light tomato sauce topping and serve the stuffed calamari with pasta. I like to serve it with a black and white spaghetti combination or just plain pasta. Today, I made it with a side of black penne.

Something about calamari and black pasta just does it for me.  I love black pasta, which is made with the ink of the calamari, so the dish works well together.  Back in the day, it was not as available as it is now where it is found in virtually every specialty store.

For the Stuffed Calamari:
1pound clean medium calamari tubes, about 5 to 6 inches long
1/2 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimps
4 garlic cloves, smashed and coarsely chopped
2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped (no stems)
1 egg
1/2 to 3/4 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
0.125 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Stainless steel cocktail picks (or toothpicks)

Shrimps and Spinach Stuffing
For the sauce:
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup onions, finely diced
0.125 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
0.125 tsp Kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes

Stuffed Calamari in Sauce
To make the stuffed calamari:
Roughly chop the shrimps and garlic. Add to food processor and pulse into a coarse paste. Remove to a large bowl and add the spinach, egg, panko, cheese, and red pepper. Season with salt and stir to combine. The mixture should be a little chunky but moist and holding together. Divide the stuffing among the 4 calamari bodies.  Stuff bodies and secure closed with stainless steel cocktail or toothpicks.

To make the sauce:
Coat a large, wide skillet or saucepan with olive oil and add the onions and the crushed red pepper. Season with salt and put the saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onions until they are soft, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the wine and cook until the wine has reduced by half. Puree the tomatoes in a food processor and add them and 1 cup of water to the pan. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes.

Add calamari to the pan and cook for 20 to 25 minutes turning them over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the calamari from the pan and remove the picks. Reduce the sauce to thicken, about ten minutes. Arrange the calamari on a plate and cover with sauce.  Serve with pasta.
Black Penne and Stuffed Calamari

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