Stuffed Calamari for Dinner!

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are already behind us. I feel like the last month just flew by, from Thanksgiving right through Christmas and now waiting for New Years Eve. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday filled with friends, family, and of course, great food!ChristmasAfter we hosted 24 for Thanksgiving, we had a pretty simple Christmas Eve dinner with only 11. Being an Italian family, Christmas Eve always meant seafood. Some of you may be familiar with the Feast of the Seven Fishes, an Italian tradition of a big Christmas Eve dinner consisting of, you guessed it, seven fishes. There is some debate as to why seven, but most agree it represents the seven sacraments. Traditionally, dinner included shrimp and white fish, bacala (salted cod) and smelts, and always calamari. Sure, like many, we had fried calamari, but my favorite was always the stuffed calamari. I’ve come to find out that this is a bit unusual, however, both of my grandmothers made it, and they are delicious.

This year, with the small crowd, we decided to have a smaller menu. We didn’t come close to the seven fishes, but the meal was great. We started with a shrimp butter and mussels for an appetizer, and for the main course, spaghetti and crabs, and, yes, the stuffed calamari. As always, they were a huge hit, and I keep getting requests for the recipe, so here goes.

To make the calamari, you need about 3 pounds cleaned calamari. You want a bulk of it to be the whole tubes, however, the tentacles work great in the stuffing. To make the stuffing, saute 1 medium onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft and golden in color. To the onions, add about 1 cup chopped tentacles. Cook for a few minutes until cooked through. Remove from heat and allow to cool then add about 1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, and 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste, then stir to combine.sauteed onionstentacleschoppedcookedbreadcrumbsparsleyaddedcheeseTo complete the dish, you also need about 4 cups tomato sauce, toothpicks, and a casserole dish. For the sauce, I used the sauce from the spaghetti and crabs before I added the crab meat. It’s just a simple marinara with basil. sauceYou want to use the largest tubes you have to stuff. Hold them in your hand while you carefully spoon the filling in. Push the filling down so you make room for more. Once full, use a toothpick to seal the edges. Add 2 cups sauce to the casserole dish. Set the stuffed, sealed calamari in the dish in neat rows. Once you’ve stuffed them all, cover the calamari with the remaining sauce. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes until bubbling and cooked through.tubestuffingsealedcompleteready for the ovenI know some are a little nervous when it comes to calamari, but they really are delicious. If you’re willing to try, you won’t be disappointed. We finished off the Christmas Eve meal with another one of my favorites, chocolate chip bread pudding. Even if you’re hesitant with the calamari, you please make the bread pudding. πŸ™‚

Enjoy the rest of the holidays, and a very Happy New Year to you! Here’s to 2016!

7 thoughts on “Stuffed Calamari for Dinner!

  1. cookingwithauntjuju.com

    One of my sisters is married to a Sicilian and calamari was always her responsibility for I think Christmas Eve. Sorry, but calamari is not for me – too slimy πŸ™‚ I am going to leave it up to my 3 blogging co-hosts to come to my rescue. Thanks so much for sharing some traditions and a fish recipe for Fiesta Friday #100 πŸ™‚ Happy Holidays and the Best in 2016…

    Reply
  2. Ginger

    I’ll have a very generous helping of that! And your portion too, Juju, if you don’t mind! I have never made them myself but love eating them on holidays. I’ll keep the recipe for when I get my hands on fresh calamari!
    Happy FF100 and all the best for the new year!
    Ginger x

    Reply
  3. FrugalHausfrau

    Well, it looks like we have a tie, here on the FF hosts! Although if I could be enticed to eat it, I’d go for this recipe and I can see the care and work that went in to it! That’s the problem that happens when one grows up in a landlocked state when the only fish that was served was tuna casserole and salmon loaf and only during advent and lent! Happy New Year and Happy Fiesta Friday!! I’m pinning this to the FF Board just in case no one has yet!

    Reply
  4. petra08

    I love to learn what they eat in other countries for Christmas and I never knew this is the Italian way! I am not surprised you were asked for the stuffed squid recipe, it sounds great πŸ™‚

    Reply

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