Baked Stuffed Squid: Calamari Ripieni al Forno

This dish can be served as a meal or as an appetizer. The caciocavallo cheese can be found in Italian specialty stores and the sauce can be prepared ahead of time.

Recipe courtesy Nina Groppo
TOTAL TIME: 2 hr 20 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 2 hr
 
YIELD: 6 to 12 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

SAUCE:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly (preferably sweet white Vidalia onion)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup Italian or kalamata olives (preferably pitted)
  • 1 teaspoon capers, optional
  • 1 (24-ounce) can peeled crushed/ground tomatoes (recommended: Kitchen Ready)
  • 5 or 6 basil leaves, torn
    STUFFING:
    • 3 eggs
    • 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs, plus extra for sprinkling
    • 1 tablespoon raisins, coarsely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, coarsely chopped
    • 1/4 cup chopped squid tentacles
    • 1 tablespoon caciocavallo cheese or Pecorino Romano, chopped into small cubes
    • 12 cleaned fresh or frozen medium squid
      TO ASSEMBLE:
      • Grated Romano
      • Dry seasoned bread crumbs
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      Directions

      To make the sauce: Pour the oil into a medium size saucepan, add the onion, a pinch of salt and pepper and saute at medium to medium-high heat until the onion becomes golden and tender and you can see through it. Add the pine nuts, the raisins and the olives, (for a tangy taste, add the capers). Saute for about 3 more minutes). Add the can of tomatoes (add about 1/2 can of water to thin the sauce for cooking) and cook at medium heat for about at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Lastly, add the basil leaves for a more fresh and tasty flavor.

      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

      To make the stuffing: in a medium bowl, beat the eggs and gradually add the bread crumbs, raisins, pine nuts, tentacles and cheese. Mix to a soft consistency. Stuff squid loosely with the mixture and secure opening with a small skewer or toothpick. Place a single layer of squid in a medium baking dish (9 by 13-inches). Top with the sauce. Sprinkle a little grated romano, some dry seasoned bread crumbs, a pinch of salt and pepper over the sauce, then drizzle with some olive oil. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender.

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