Every Wednesday there is a tradition in our family – “Seafood Pasta Night.” Sometimes as an alternative I make this delicious seafood dish of Stuffed Calamari with Tomato Sauce which I serve on a bed of luscious, warm truffled polenta. If truffles aren’t your favorite, substitute with regular polenta, if short on time, use store-bought good quality Arrabbiata or Marinara sauce to go along with this dish. Calamari tubes are stuffed with sweet combination of seafood such as scallops, shrimp, and calamari which are processed to make smooth paste. Then I add cheese and seasonings to develop that slightly zesty, robust flavor and texture. It is also easier to work with the seafood in the paste form when stuffing the calamari tubes. It takes only 20 minutes to cook stuffed calamari and then, prego, enjoy this delightful dish!
Ingredients: calamari, shrimp, sea scallops, Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic clove, parsley, red pepper flakes, onion, Roma or wine tomatoes, sugar, polenta, olive oil or vegetable oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Peel off the shrimp, then run a thin pairing knife along shrimp’s back. The black or clear “vein” will be exposed, with the tip of a knife, lift it up and discard (the “vein” is actually shrimp’s digestive tract and isn’t recommended to be consumed). Rinse the shrimp in cold water.
Cut scallops in three pieces and thinly slice 2 calamari tubes.
Cut shrimp into 3 pieces as well.
Make the stuffing: In a food processor, blend shrimp, scallops, 2 calamari and garlic into a coarse paste.
Transfer to a bowl. Then add cheese, parsley, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Kitchen tip: make a small patty and cook it in the pan for few minutes on both sides, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Make stuffed calamari: Using a small spoon, start stuffing the calamari tubes until almost full and shapely.
Pierce and secure with the toothpick or skewer. Kitchen tip: I like to use long skewers, they make it much easier to pierce the calamari. Break off the end piece before cooking.
To blanched tomatoes: Using a sharp knife, cut an “X” on the bottom of each tomato, it will help to loosen the skin.
Place them in rapidly boiling water for 1 minute, then plunge the tomatoes into an ice bath.
Let the tomatoes cool slightly, peel the skin off.
Chop the tomatoes finely.
Make the sauce: Heat the oil in a large wide-sided skillet, add onions and sauté for 5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Then add tomatoes and sugar, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.
In a single layer, place stuffed calamari on top of the tomato sauce, cover with the lid and cook for 20 minutes on medium-low heat.
Slice cooked calamari on a bias.
Serve on a bed of polenta with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and extra serving of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top.