Stuffed Calamari with Celery, Raisins, and Pine Nuts

From The Feast of Seven Fishes 

This simple and satisfying calamari dish, courtesy of Rocky Maselli, executive chef at A16 Rockridge, works as an antipasto or as a main course.   


Photo by Stacy Ventura

Yields 6 servings

  • 12 calamari, cleaned and tentacles cut away to use separately
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, diced
  • Pinch crushed red chile
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ¾ dry white wine
  • ¾ cup whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
  • ¾ cup golden raisins
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup finely grated pecorino
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano
  • 4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish)

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, diced celery, and a pinch of chile; cook until soft, about 8 minutes.

Add tomato paste; cook until caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add wine vinegar, white wine, tomatoes, raisins, and bay leaf. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Check seasoning and adjust with salt. Set sauce aside.

Heat oven to 350°. Heat remaining oil in a skillet over medium heat. Chop calamari tentacles and add to skillet; sauté for 30 seconds or until cooked through and tender.

Remove from heat; stir in breadcrumbs, pecorino, parsley, 2 tablespoons pine nuts, and oregano. Season with salt to taste.

Stuff each calamari body half full with breadcrumb mixture, using a toothpick to close up the opening, then place in a baking dish. It’s important not to overstuff the calamari body as it will shrink while it is cooking and the stuffing will burst the calamari.

Pour sauce over calamari and bake until warmed through, about 18–20 minutes. Garnish with remaining pine nuts and serve.