Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Calamari Ripieni / Stuffed Squid in Tomato Sauce

Today is the start of Passover, an important time for the Jewish people.
On Friday it will be Good Friday, and on Sunday it will be Easter.
It's almost the end of Lent!

This isn't just a special time for folks of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Tomorrow is Holi, a Spring festival celebrated by Hindus as a festival of colours.
The backstory is that viruses and colds are caused by Spring's weather changes. 
The playful throwing of natural coloured powders made from traditionally medicinal herbs prescribed by Āyurvedic doctors is supposed to help.
Well, everybody is laughing and laughter is the best medicine, so why not?

The third full moon of 2013 will happen tomorrow night.
Three already… time sure flies!
A few weeks ago I posted a recipe for Carmela's Fried Calamari.
There was also information about squid and other ways you can serve it.
I was asked if squid always has to be fried.
No, it doesn't.
Artie's chapter Mia Cucina in The Sopranos Family Cookbook has a recipe for
Stuffed Calamari, Calamari Ripieni.

There is also a recipe for a tomato sauce.
If the idea of eating squid makes you squeamish - or you can't find it in your store - the sauce would also be nice with other seafood.
If you are using fish, adjust the simmering time, since fish doesn't need tenderizing
as the squid does.
It's a nice sauce for lobster or jumbo shrimp.
Yes, I know that sounds funny. 

The skillet for making the sauce should be large enough to hold the squid in a single layer.  You want to evenly stew the bodies.
Yes, I know that sounds funny, too.

                        Calamari Ripieni

Serves 6 to 8

The Squid

Rinse thoroughly inside and out
2 1/2 pounds calamari
Set the bodies aside.
Chop the tentacles with a large knife or in a food processor.

In a medium skillet place
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Cook over medium heat 1 minute.
Stir in the chopped tentacles.
Cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

1/2 Cup plain bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped Gaeta olives
2 Tablespoons chopped rinsed capers
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Let cool.

With a small spoon, stuff the bread crumb mixture into the calamari bodies.
Do not fill them more than half full.
Pin the calamari closed with wooden toothpicks.

The Sauce

Pour into a deep heavy saucepan or large skillet
1/4 Cup olive oil 
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
Cook over medium heat 1 minute.
Add the calamari.
Cook, turning them gently, 2 minutes on each side.

1/2 Cup dry red wine
Bring to a simmer.

2 Cups Italian peeled tomatoes, with their juices
pinch of crushed red pepper
salt to taste.
Bring to a simmer.
Partially cover the pan and cook for an hour, 
turning the calamari occasionally.
If the sauce becomes thick, add water.
Serve hot.

Would I make Calamari Ripieni again?
It's a nice recipe.
But I don't cook squid that often.

One recipe down.  Twenty-nine more to go. 

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