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Josie's Stuffed Calamari (Calamad)

(by Lisa DePaulo)


4 lb. calamari, cleaned, including some tentacles

1/2 c. olive oil

1/4 onion, finely chopped

4 or 5 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 loaf stale Italian bread (left out the night before), crumbled

1 egg, beaten

1 c. Italian-flavored bread crumbs

2 T. grated Locatelli or pecorino cheese

1/4 c. Italian parsley, chopped

freshly grated black pepper to taste

1 small can baby shrimp

Sauce:

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 or 3 (28-oz.) cans crushed plum tomatoes (or whole tomatoes pureed in food processor)

1/4 large onion

1/4 c. Italian parsley, chopped

1 t. dried oregano

1/2 t. garlic powder

1 bay leaf

red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

1 small tin of anchovies

1/2 c. wine

1 1/2 lb. angel hair pasta or thin spaghetti

grated Parmesan (optional)

Chop the tentacles by hand or in a food processor.

Heat oil in a small sauté pan and add onion and garlic.

Add chopped tentacles and sauté a few minutes.

In a large bowl, combine tentacle mixture with crumbled bread, moistening with a few drops of water if it seems too dry.

Add the egg and the Italian bread crumbs.

Add cheese, parsley, and black pepper.

Add shrimp and toss lightly.

If the stuffing seems too dry, add another egg. If it seems too wet, add more bread crumbs. It should be crumbly but still hold together.

Gently stuff the calamari using a demitasse spoon or fingers, and close the opening with a toothpick. (Or sew them with a needle and thread if you really want to be authentic.)

For the sauce:


In a large pot like a Dutch oven, sauté garlic in oil.

Add tomatoes and onion.

Add parsley, oregano, garlic salt, and bay leaf, broken in half.

Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

Add 1 or 2 cups water and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.

Carefully drop in the stuffed calamari. Stir very delicately.

Let simmer until your house smells wonderful. (The key to cooking calamari is: less than a minute or more than an hour.)

Add anchovies with their oil and wine, and let simmer until anchovies dissolve.

Cook pasta in salted boiling water and drain.

When ready to serve, remove onion from the sauce.

Take calamari out of the sauce with a slotted spoon and remove the toothpicks. Serve on a platter.

In a large pretty bowl, toss the pasta with as much sauce as you like. Top with the calamari.

Note: It is totally fine to serve this with grated cheese. Don’t listen to the no-cheese-with-fish stuff.


(Read Seven Fishes, the story that accompanies this recipe.)

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