Stuffed Calamari with Risotto

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stuffed-calamari-with-risotto

Stuffed Calamari with Risotto

Once in a while, I like to refresh my old recipes by changing the ingredients slightly. I cook at home for kids and my husband almost every day (except for weekends, unless we are hosting a dinner party) and I don't always have all the necessary ingredients for the recipe I choose to make that night. Also, for casual home family dinners I don’t really engage in planning and organizing, so everything happens last minute on a whim or based on what's fresh at the supermarket. Sometimes my best creations are made just like that, on a whim with which ever ingredients happen to be on hand. Shortcuts are welcome in my kitchen, especially when it is a casual dinner at home. May be that's why there are no eggs, cheese, butter or wine in a quick (yes, quick) Arborio rice risotto. Stuffing is one of my favorite ways to serve meat, fish or seafood and calamari are a perfect vessel for that. Luckily, I was able to find these gorgeous, thick and long calamari tubes that you can't usually spot at the Whole Foods stores, although, this recipe is still possible to make using regular, smaller size calamari. I only stuffed six of them but the amount of stuffing is enough for ten smaller ones. Regardless of the size, ask your fishmonger to pick calamari that have no holes and tears on their tubes from fishlines. There are three components in this recipe; simple home-made tomato sauce (onion, tomatoes and basil), risotto with shortcuts (no cheese, no wine) and of course, stuffed calamari. Please feel free to simplify the recipe even further by buying a delicious tomato sauce of your choice. As to the stuffing, I quickly sautéed finely chopped onion & fennel, then combined the mixture with grinded shrimp, breadcrumbs, herbs and spices. Using a teaspoon, I stuffed it into my calamari, leaving just half an inch on the top to secure with toothpicks. Snuggled them into tomato sauce and cooked for about 20 minutes on low, covered. To serve, scoop risotto into each plate, spoon the tomato sauce over it and place calamari rounds, cut on a bias on top. I like to finish it with olive oil drizzle and sprinkle of fishing salt and spices. Enjoy!

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-ingredients

Ingredients: calamari, shrimp, onion, fennel, tomatoes, Arborio rice,breadcrumbs, dill, basil, garlic, mildly spicy red pepper, salt and olive oil.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-finely-diced-onion

Dice one large yellow or white onion (or two small onions) finely and split in three equal parts. You will need one half for the tomato sauce, another half for risotto and third half for stuffing.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-dice-onion-fennel-finely

Diced onion and fennel bulb. Cut fennel bulb in half and dice one half finely, plus chop green fennel fronds finely as well, you will need about one tablespoon to add to the stuffing. Set aside.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-cut-shrimpstuffed-calamari-with-risotto-deveine-shrimp

Peel and devein shrimp with a small sharp knife, by making a shallow slit down the middle of the back to expose the black intestine. Lift it up with knife's tip and discard.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-peeled-deveined-shrimp

Peeled and deveined shrimp.

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Cut each shrimp into three pieces.

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Cut two calamari tubes into rings, those would be processed with shrimp for the stuffing. Six other tubes are the vessel for stuffing, so keep them intact.

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Calamari cut into rings.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-process-until-grindedstuffed-calamari-with-risotto-process-seafood

Place shrimp and calamari rings into food processor. Pulse until chopped to a thick paste, not quite mousse-like, but with some consistency.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-season-with-salt

Season with salt "somewhat" generously, the stuffing should taste delicious and salt will elevate it.  If in doubt how much salt to use, make a tiny patty and sear it in the pan, taste and adjust the seasoning.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-prepared-ingredients

I also sautéed one half of diced onion and fennel in olive oil for about 8 minutes, until softened. Add fennel fronds and minced garlic at the end, cook another minute then seasoned with salt and pepper.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-add-dill

In a medium bowl, combine seafood, sautéed onion and fennel, breadcrumbs, dill and spices.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-stuffing

Mix everything to combine.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-stuffed-calamari

Take calamari tube and start stuffing it with seafood mixture, one teaspoon at a time. Push it down by squeezing the stuffing to fill in the tubes. Leave half an inch space at the end.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-stuffed-calamari

Proceed with the rest.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-close-calamari-with-toothpick

Prick tubes with toothpicks to enclose the stuffing.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-stuffed-seasoned-calamari

Season calamari with flaky salt on top.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-peel-tomatoesstuffed-calamari-with-risotto-peel-tomatoes

To make tomato sauce, place medium size cherry tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds or until the skin starts to break. Lift them up with slotted spoon, let cool slightly. Peel off the skin and finely chop them. Alternatively, if short on time, buy  your favorite tomato sauce and use it to cook calamari in.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-add-basilstuffed-calamari-with-risotto-place-calamari-into-sauce

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat, pour some olive oil. Add second half of the onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Then add tomatoes, season with salt and mildly spicy red pepper. Add large basil leaves and cook the sauce for about 10 minutes. Then snuggle calamari in it, sprinkle calamari with mildly spicy red pepper. Cover the pan with the lid and cook for 20 minutes on medium-low to low heat. Flip once half time.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-making-risottostuffed-calamari-with-risotto-stirring-rice

To make risotto and this version is super easy with no butter, no cheese and no wine. Heat stock to almost a simmer and then keep it hot on low on the stove next to risotto pot. Heat risotto pot on medium heat, pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then add third part of the onion. Sauté onion for 5 minutes, until softened but not browned. Then add rice and coat it with onion and olive oil, keep stirring for 2 minutes.

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Ladle stock into rice and stir often, until almost absorbed. Season rice with salt and keep on adding stock one ladle at a time for 20 minutes.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto

Risotto should taste al dente and stay very moist but not too runny. Actually, this pictures shows it well, you can tell there is some liquid left but not too much. When risotto served, there shouldn't be any excessive liquid surrounding it.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-made-risotto

Sprinkle risotto with mildly spicy red pepper and drizzle slightly with olive oil.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-plate-risottostuffed-calamari-with-risotto-drizzle-with-sauce

To serve, scoop risotto into each plate, spoon the tomato sauce over it.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto-sliced-calamari

Cut calamari tubes on a bias into 1/4" medallions.

stuffed-calamari-with-risotto

Then place medallions on top of risotto. I like to finish it with olive oil drizzle and sprinkle of fishing salt and spices. Garnish the dish with basil leaves and voila! Enjoy your dinner, friends!

 

 

 

 

 

Bon Appétit!
Svitlana

Stuffed Calamari with Risotto

recipe details

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

For the stuffing
  • 8 large calamari
  • 1 lb. jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced, split in three halves
  • ½ small fennel bulb, finely diced+ 1 tablespoon fennel fronds, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons dill, finely chopped
  • mildly spicy red pepper (Marash, Aleppo)
  • olive oil
  • Salt
For the tomato sauce 
  • 16 oz. medium-size cherry tomatoes or 2 regular size wine tomatoes
  • finely diced onion
  • 5 large basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • Salt, pepper to taste
For the risotto 
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • finely diced onion
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • mildly spicy red pepper (Marash, Aleppo)
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Make the stuffing: Dice onion finely and split it in three equal parts (one half for the tomato sauce, another half for risotto and third half for stuffing). Dice fennel finely and chop green fennel fronds, about 1 teaspoon. Sautéed one half of diced onion and fennel in olive oil for about 8 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Add minced garlic and fennel fronds at the end and cook for another minute. Set aside and let cool slightly.
  2. Peel and devein shrimp with a small sharp knife, by making a shallow slit down the middle of the back to expose the black intestine. Lift it up with knife's tip and discard. Cut each shrimp into three pieces. Cut two calamari tubes into rings, those would be processed with shrimp for the stuffing. Six other tubes are the vessel for stuffing, so keep them intact. Place shrimp and calamari rings into food processor. Pulse until chopped to a thick paste, not quite mousse-like, but with some consistency. Season with salt "somewhat" generously, the stuffing should taste delicious and salt will elevate the taste.  Kitchen tip: If in doubt how much salt to use, make a tiny patty and sear it in the pan, taste and adjust the seasoning.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine seafood, sautéed onion and fennel, breadcrumbs, dill and red pepper. Mix everything to combine.
  1. Stuff calamari: Take calamari tube and start stuffing it with seafood mixture, one teaspoon at a time. Push it down the tube by squeezing the stuffing to fill in the tubes. Leave half an inch space at the end. Proceed with the rest. Prick tubes with toothpicks to enclose the stuffing. Season calamari with flaky salt on top.
  2. Make the sauce: Drop medium size cherry tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds or until the skin starts to break. Lift them up with slotted spoon, let cool slightly. Peel off the skin and finely chop them. Kitchen tip: Alternatively, if short on time, buy your favorite tomato sauce and use it to cook calamari in.
  3. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat; pour a dash of olive oil. Add second half of the onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Then add tomatoes, season with salt and mildly spicy red pepper. Add large basil leaves and cook the sauce for about 10 minutes. Then snuggle calamari in it, sprinkle calamari with mildly spicy red pepper. Cover the pan with the lid and cook for 20 minutes on medium-low to low heat, flipping once half time.
  4. Make risotto: Heat stock to almost a simmer and then keep it hot on low on the stove next to risotto pot. Heat risotto pot on medium heat, pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and then add third part of the diced onion. Sauté onion for 5 minutes, until softened but not browned. Then add rice and coat it with onion and olive oil, keep stirring for 2 minutes. Ladle stock into rice and stir often, until almost absorbed. Season rice with salt and keep on adding stock one ladle at a time for 20 minutes. Risotto should taste al dente and stay very moist but not too runny. When risotto served, there shouldn't be any excessive liquid surrounding it. Sprinkle risotto with mildly spicy red pepper and drizzle slightly with olive oil.
  5. To serve, scoop risotto into each plate, spoon the tomato sauce over it. Cut calamari tubes on a bias into 1/4" medallions. Then place medallions on top of risotto. I like to finish it with olive oil drizzle and sprinkle of fishing salt and spices. Garnish the dish with basil leaves.
   

share your thoughts

2 thoughts on “Stuffed Calamari with Risotto”

  1. I tried to cook stuffed calamari and it was delicious! I was a bit disappointed because my calamari tubes burst while cooking. Never the less, it didn’t spoil their taste a bit! Thank you Svitlana for another great recepie!

    1. Hi Victoria, thank you so much for your comment, I am sorry that your calamari tubes burst. How big were they? Sometimes (I don’t know if you live in NYC),if I buy my calamari from Whole Foods they are much thinner and smaller than those pictured on the blog for this recipe. But I cooked this recipe with both sizes. Next time, follow the same steps, make sure the sauce is simmering on low heat and if the tubes are indeed smaller and thinner, shorten the cooking time a little and don’t overstuff them, leave space for the stuffing to expand. I hope they will remain intact, give it another try!!!

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