Stuffed squid in tomato sauce

Even if not present in the great Artusi cookbook and inserted in the volume of the Italian Regional Recipes by Anna Gosetti della Salda as a Sardinian recipe, the stuffed squid is actually a great classic of all the seafood cuisines of the boot. From Tuscany to Lazio, from Liguria to Sicily, but also in Campania and in the Marches, homes have always been prepared, stewed or baked, plain or with tomatoes, accompanied with potatoes or peas, for example.

The following recipe is told by Moreno Cedroni of the Madonnina del Pescatore of Senigallia, a true guru for lovers of cooked and raw fish from all over the world (Norway has chosen him as the ambassador of cod in Italy), who gives the instructions to prepare the dish as his mother taught him.

Moreno Cedroni on the stage of Meet in Cucina Marche

Moreno Cedroni on the stage of Meet in Cucina Marche

1) For 4 people, take 4 fresh squid of about 100-120 grams each. You can use them already like this, of course, but if you prefer extremely tender, the advice is to freeze them (and keep them in freezere for two or three days, so that the fibers break and remain more tender). It is therefore better to buy them in advance by calculating the time they will stay in the freezer. The ideal is to have a blast chiller, but the home freezer can also go, having the foresight to place them on a tray, covered with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking, covered with a film. Take them out a few hours before cooking them, for example in the evening pass them from the freezer to the fridge to find them ready in the morning.

2) Whether or not you have chosen the passage in the freezer, to cook them, remove the tuft and the tentacles. With the left hand you hold the body and with the right you detach the tuft and the tentecoli, extracting everything that the tuft carries with it: entrails and the so-called pen.

3) Also detach the two wings in the final part of the mollusk. The operation can be done with your hands or scissors, being careful not to cut the body.

4) Remove the spout from the head, which is located in the center of the tuft.

5) Wash the inside by simply passing it under running water. Then dry them well, inside and out, with the help of absorbent paper.

6) Head, wings and tuft must be chopped with a knife to obtain a coarse grain.

7) We begin to prepare the filling by heating 20 g of delicate extra virgin olive oil in a large pan and, over low heat, add chopped tufts, head and wings. They must be browned well.

8) Then, off the heat, add 40 grams of breadcrumbs, 20 of grated Parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt, the zest of half a lemon grated on a microplane, a few leaves of chopped parsley and a whole raw egg. Mix everything with a spoon until you get a medium consistency, adjusting with salt if necessary.

9) Prick each squid with a toothpick “because in this way the heat will reach the inside better during cooking” explains the chef from Senigallia.

10) Stuff each squid with the mixture obtained, with the help of a teaspoon.

11) Close the opening with a toothpick. Cedroni prefers to use a string to close the squid, simply because it is easier to turn the squid in the pot. But – he underlines – it is irrelevant for the purpose of preparation.

12) For the sauce, chop 20 grams of white onion and less than half a clove of garlic into small pieces, put them in a pan with a diameter of about 25 centimeters, with 80 g of delicate extra virgin olive oil.

13) Add the four stuffed squids to this pan, brown them and as soon as they begin to blanch remove them from the pan and keep them on a plate. In this way, in fact, they begin to “swell” because the flesh becomes swollen (and you will notice that it “becomes rounded”). But in order not to cook them too much, it is better to remove them from the heat at this moment from the sauce, which in the meantime will continue its cooking.

14) In this same pan, add 300 grams of well ripe datterini tomatoes, washed and cut in quarters, a tablespoon of water and cook everything over low heat with the lid on (so that the steam that forms remains in the pot, contributing to a not dry sauce. ) for ten minutes.

15) Add a couple of grams of salt and a pinch of chilli powder.

16) Put the squid back in the sauce, cover again and always cook covered for another 10 minutes. When cooked, remove the toothpick.

They can be served whole or sliced. In the latter case, they can be served on slices of toasted white bread rubbed lightly with garlic. Garnish to taste with a sprinkling of chopped parsley leaves.

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