This article first appeared in House & Leisure Online and is entitled “Sicilian-style Stuffed Squid with Risotto”. Here I’ve adapted my original post slightly in order to make it blog-relevant.

While most species of squid are sustainably caught, our local Cape Hope Squid makes the best choice when it comes to their carbon footprint. Cape Hope Squid are caught off South Africa’s southern coast through a fishing method called “jigging”. Colourful barbed lures are bobbed through the water, simulating live bait and thus attracting the squid with minimal to no by-catch or environmental impact.

Most popularly known as calamari or “chokka”, Cape Hope Squid are plentiful and affordable – look for calamari rings or tubes in the frozen section of your supermarket. Usually served deep-fried or crumbed, squid tubes can be just as delicious when stuffed and baked slowly in a rich tomato sauce. When cooking any cephalopod, the general rule is to either flash-fry or slow roast so it’s best to tailor your dish accordingly. Here, inspiration has been taken from a traditional Sicilian dish where squid tubes are stuffed with a creamy risotto, flash-fried in olive oil and served with fresh bread. A simple tomato salad pairs best with the dish.

Stuffed Squid with Risotto

Prep time: 20mins / Cook time: 1.5 hours / Serves: 4

You will need:

  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 300ml dry white wine
  • 250g squid ink or plain Arborio (risotto) rice
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 small salsiccia (Italian sausage) sliced into rounds – I used The Flying Pig‘s diablo sausage
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • Coarse ground sea salt and black pepper
  • 4 to 6 large squid tubes, defrosted and rinsed

For the tomato salad:

  • 800g heirloom tomatoes, a mix of sizes, colours and shapes
  • 4 sprigs of fresh oregano, woody stalks discarded
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Coarse ground sea salt and black pepper
  • Crusty sourdough bread, to serve

To make the risotto, you’ll need a heavy bottomed pot. Gently fry the diced onion in a little olive oil until translucent and add in the sliced salsiccia. Brown the sausage with the onions then add in the diced bell pepper and season with salt and pepper. Sweat the pepper with the onions and sausage then add in the Arborio rice to absorb some of the flavour. Fry on high for a minute or so then deglaze the pot with the wine. Stir continuously, adding in about half of the chicken stock. Bring the rice to the boil, stirring continuously then reduce heat and simmer. Keep stirring, adding more chicken stock when required. The risotto is ready when it has a creamy unctuous consistency and the rice is al dente.

Give the risotto a few minutes to cool down slightly then carefully stuff each squid tube with the rice mixture. Thread a toothpick or small skewer through the open end of the tube to close it off. Heat up a griddle pan or cast iron skillet until smoking hot. Rub a little olive oil over each stuffed tube and fry – about 3 to 4 minutes a side should be enough. The tubes will be lightly browned and no longer translucent.

For the tomato salad, roughly chop the tomatoes into wedges and pour over the olive oil and vinegar. Tear the oregano and sprinkle over the tomatoes, along with a grind each of salt and pepper. Mix and leave to stand for a while to let the flavours develop. It’s best to make the salad before the risotto and to serve it at room temperature.

Serve the stuffed squid with the tomato salad and lots of fresh crusty bread.

SICILIAN-STYLE STUFFED SQUID

SICILIAN-STYLE STUFFED SQUID

SICILIAN-STYLE STUFFED SQUID

SICILIAN-STYLE STUFFED SQUID

SICILIAN-STYLE STUFFED SQUID

SICILIAN-STYLE STUFFED SQUID

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