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02 June 2012

Calamari Ripieni (Stuffed Calamari)


Red, white and green are my favorite colors in a plate. They epitomize freshness and Mediterranean cooking which influence my cooking a lot.   

Red, white and green are also the colors of the Italian flag. On a special occasion that commemorates the country, I would usually think of making a Green, White & Red Salad like what I did during the 150th Year of Italy last year. For last year's Festa della Repubblica (Festival of the Republic), I did the Farfalle Italiane with Matcha Green Tea, Pistachios, Raisins & Zucchini .  


Festa della Repubblica (Festival of the Republic) is celebrated every 2nd day of June and it commemorates the referendum of 1946 when the Italian population was called to decide between monarchy or republic as the form of government to give to the country after the Second World War and the fall of Fascism. After 85 years of monarchy, Italy became a Republic, and the monarchs of the House of Savoy were deposed and exiled. This is one of the most important Italian national holidays that celebrates the birth of the nation.

For this year, I thought of cooking a typical seafood plate that you would usually find on any Italian table on special occasions.  Every country has a version of this I believe. In fact, everyone has his/her own version of a stuffed calamari.   I love calamari ripieni but I don't love every single one I have tried.   I have tried only a few that I really liked. 


This is not the first calamari ripieni recipe that I tried doing but this is definitely the first that made me smack my lips and declare that I got it this time.  It never occurred to me to put some ham to lift the taste. Originally, from the recipe of Cucchiaio d'Argento, prosciutto crudo (raw ham) is written as the kind of ham to use but I never liked the taste of cooked prosciutto crudo so I replaced it with speck, the smoked ham from South Tyrol.  All the rest fit perfectly.

Have a good weekend. 

I would like to thank the ones who had joined my giveaway.  If you haven't yet, please take a look at this link and see the giveaway of Bronte pistachios, almond paste brick and Sicilian dried oregano.  It is going on until Sunday, the 3rd of June at 12 Midnight, Rome Time (GMT +2).  Thank you!



Calamari Ripieni (Stuffed Calamari)

Ingredients:
Serves 4
  • 4 big calamari 
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 100 grams speck or other kinds of smoked ham, finely chopped
  • 2 slices of bread, finely crumbled
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1-1/4 cups (300 ml.) white wine  
  • 200 grams tomato puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt  
  • Pepper
Directions:
    1. Clean the calamari. Separate the tentacles from the bodies then finely chop the tentacles. Set aside.
    2. Over medium heat, in saucepan with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, sautè the garlic and onions.
    3. When the onions turn transparent, add the ham, bread and half of the parsley. Sautè for about 2 minutes then add the tentacles. Cook until the water almost evaporates.
    4. Add 2/3 of the white wine on medium to high heat. Continue to cook until the wine evaporates and the sauce thickens.
    5. Cook for another 10 minutes then turn off the heat. Let it cool.
    6. Fill up the calamari with the filling then close them with food sticks.
    7. Leave the liquid of the filling in the saucepan.
    8. Over medium heat, pour the remaining oil in the saucepan. When the oil is hot, add the stuffed calamari then brown all sides.
    9. Pour the remaining white wine on medium to high heat then let it evaporate.
    10. Pour the tomato puree in the saucepan. Let it boil then simmer, covered for about 45 minutes.
    11. Season with salt and pepper.
    12. Serve the calamari with the sauce.