Italian stuffed Calamari recipe is a classic Italian dish, known as stuffed squid Italian-style all over the world. They are a very tasty seafood recipe, perfect for any occasion and any season.
There are many versions in Italy, with different ingredients, depending on the region and local traditions. We are going to show you the Italian classic stuffed calamari recipe, made WITH tomato sauce (from southern Italy) and WITHOUT tomato sauce (from northern Italy).
In this recipe the filling is made with the tentacles of the squid, bread, garlic, egg, parsley and Parmigiano. Using simple delicate ingredients, you maximizes the flavor and scent of Calamari.
Italian stuffed squid recipe is a very tasty Italian seafood dish, simple, delicious and surely of big effect on all your guests!
Try other Italian seafood recipes:
- Spaghetti with Clams recipe
- Fish Ragù recipe
- Italian Octopus and Potato Salad
- Squid with Peas | Calamari con Piselli
- Baked Calamari rings
- Shrimp and Calamari Salad with Crispy Vegetables
How to Make Italian Stuffed Calamari Recipe
- Prep Time: 40 Min
- Cook Time: 20 Min
PLEASE NOTE: We indicate the weight and not the number of squids. The size of the squid can vary a lot. The squid used in many recipes vary from about 4/5 cm (about 2 inch) to over 30 cm (about 12 inch.). We used squid of about 15 cm (about 6 inch).
- 600 g (1,3 lb) of Calamari
- 120 ml ( 1/2 cup) of dry white wine
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 30 g (2 tablespoons) of chopped parsley
- 100 g (3,5 oz = 1/2 cup) of bread (about 4 slices of sandwich bread)
- 1 whole egg
- 50 g (1,8 oz = 1/2 cup) of grated Parmigiano cheese
- 5 large tomatoes, like vine tomatoes, or 15 small tomatoes, like cherry or grape tomatoes.
- 6/8 tablespoons of Extra virgin olive oil.
- fine salt to taste
BEFORE YOU START! You can use fresh or frozen calamari. If you are using frozen squid, remember to defrost them in the refrigerator at least a few hours ahead of time.
Either way, you need to clean the squid before you start cooking them. You can buy them already clean, ask the fishmonger to clean them for you or clean them yourself. In this last case, carefully read the paragraph below “How to Clean Calamari”.
How to Make the Filling for Italian Stuffed Calamari
Step 1) – Once you have cleaned the calamari and separated the tentacles from the body, chop the tentacles into very small pieces on a cutting board.
Step 2) – Cook over medium heat the small pieces of tentacles in a frying pan with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, one clove of garlic and a pinch of salt to taste. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 60 ml (1/4 cup) of white wine and let it evaporate over high heat, cooking for about 3 minutes. Then turn off and set aside.
Step 3) – Soften the bread in a little water then squeeze well to remove the excess and put it in a bowl. Remove the garlic from the frying pan. Chop the garlic and 1 tablespoon of parsley together then add them to the bread. Mix and add these ingredients to the squid in the frying pan.
Step 4) – Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring well. Let it cool down a bit then transfer to a bowl. Now add the egg and Parmigiano cheese.
Step 5) – Stir to mix the ingredients. The filling is ready. Now we have to stuff the Calamari tubes.
Step 6) – Fill the calamari tubes 3/4 of the way with a teaspoon. IMPORTANT TIP: calamari reduce slightly during cooking, while the filling increases in volume. If you overfill them you risk that they break in the pan or that a part of the filling comes out. Close the stuffed squid tubes with some toothpicks and set them aside.
Now you are ready to cook Italian stuffed calamari. Let’s see how to do it!
How to Cook Italian Stuffed Calamari in Tomato Sauce
Step 1) – In a frying pan, sauté a clove of garlic in three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add the stuffed squid tubes and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Then add 60 ml (1/4 cup) of white wine and let it evaporate over high heat, cooking for about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, wash the tomatoes and cut them into pieces. You can use both large tomatoes, such as vine tomatoes, or small tomatoes, such as cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes. In place of tomatoes you can use tomato passata and with this make an incredible tomato sauce to cook your stuffed squid.
Step 2) – Now add the chopped tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley and a pinch of fine salt to taste. Cook covered with a lid over low heat for about 30 minutes. Gently flip the squid two or three times during cooking. When calamari are cooked, remove the toothpicks and serve (see the paragraph below: ” What to Serve with Stuffed Calamari”).
How to Cook Italian Stuffed Calamari WITHOUT Tomatoes
Step 1) – In a frying pan, sauté a clove of garlic in three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add the stuffed squid tubes and 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, turning them from time to time. Then add 60 ml (1/4 cup) of white wine and let it evaporate over high heat.
Step 2) – Cook the stuffed squid covered with a lid until they have a nice golden color. It will take about 20 minutes depending on the size. If the squid swell during cooking, prick them gently with a toothpick. Taste and season with salt if necessary.
This recipe, thanks to cooking in a pan, makes the Calamari crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, with a very pleasant contrast of textures.
When the squid are cooked, remove the toothpick and serve them whole or cut into slices.
Better to eat Italian stuffed Calamari immediately, when fresh and just cooked. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, for a couple of days at most. NO freezing.
To speed up the preparation you can make the filling and clean the Calamari the day before. Then store them in the refrigerator covered with cling film.
What to Serve with Stuffed Calamari
One more tip: with Stuffed Calamari in tomato sauce you also get an excellent sauce to season pasta. In this way you have two dishes with a single recipe!
How to Clean Calamari
Cleaning squid is one of the those things that many consider to be the most boring in the kitchen. Sometimes even complicated. In reality, it’s much simpler than it looks like. So let’s see together how to clean calamari in few easy steps!
Step 1) – First, remove the tentacles. So, grab the squid’s head with one hand and its body with the other. Gently pull the head to remove the entrails. Then remove the hard clear cartilage from the body.
Step 2) – Remove the horny beak located in the center of the tentacles, the eyes and all the surrounding part with the help of scissors or a knife.
Step 3) – Remove the skin and rinse the calamari tubes under running water to remove any residue, being careful not to break them. Wash also the inside of the calamari tubes and the tentacles as well, to remove any residual sand. Dry with kitchen paper and set aside, ready to be used in your fantastic stuffed squid recipes!
Let’s see other Stuffed Squid Recipes
This Italian stuffed Calamari recipe has a very delicate filling. In fact, there are no ingredients in the filling that overwhelm the flavor of the Calamari. On the contrary, they enhance them.
If you prefer not to use the egg in the filling, you can replace it with 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk. The important thing is to have a compact slightly soft mixture for the filling.
There are obviously many regional variations to this recipe. Let’s see some of them.
Stuffed Calamari Sicilian-Style
If you love a sweet-salty contrast, you can add a handful of raisins, almond and lemon zest to the filling or some olives and capers as in the recipes for Sicilian stuffed Calamari.
Hot Stuffed Calamari
If you prefer stronger flavors, you can add two anchovies in oil and capers to the filling and, in the tomato sauce, a little hot chilli pepper to give it a stronger taste, as it is customary in Calabria region.
Ligurian Stuffed Squid
In Liguria, they add some marjoram and Taggiasca olives to the filling.
Obviously you can change the filling according to your tastes. But the tip we give you is to be careful not to cover too much the flavor of the Calamari that must remain the protagonists of this dish.