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Years ago I had these succulent stuffed calamaritti in a small Italian restaurant in Monaco and have been making them ever since. They are so simple, but whenever I make them for a grill party, they are the hit of the meal. Calamaretti are a little difficult to stuff since the openings are so small and the mixture doesn’t go through a pastry bag very easily no matter how fine you chop the mozzarella. So you have to stuff them by hand. But the advantage is that you can prepare them before your guests arrive and put them on the grill for a little something special with a glass of cold white wine, and you will be rewarded with “special thanks to the chef”.
If you don’t have the time to stuff them, just clean them, grill them, lightly salt after grilling, and drizzle with a little good balsamic vinegar.
Involtini di Calamaretti con Mozzarella e Basilica
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3-5 minutes, as soon as the squid will shrink and begins to brown. Do not over cook.
Yield: Antipasti-12 calamartti
12 very small squids
2 medium size mozzarella balls
Several basil leaves
Salt, to taste
Put the mozzarella and several basil leaves into a food processor and chop until the basil and cheese have melded together. Or you may chop both by hand very finely.
Remove the tentacles, sac, beak, eyes and spine and wash any sand off the squid. Fill each tube with the cheese and basil mixture and close the opening with a toothpick. The opening of the squid is very small and is a little difficult to fill.
Place the filled squid on a hot grill and cook for only few minutes turning them on all sides. Any longer and the squid will be very rubbery.
Salt them immediately after taking them off the grill and serve them immediately when they are hot and the mozzarella is still stringy.
Calamari salad is always on the antipasti menu in Italy. It brings the freshness of the sea, combined with fresh raw vegetables, the deep rich flavor of extra virgin olive oil and the tartness of fresh lemons. Add a variety of shell fish and you have frutti di mare. Served cold or room temperature this delicate salad is healthy, and sensational.
Although this is usually served as an antipasto, I make it as a main course for my husband and I. It is easy to make and although you want it to be as fresh as possible, it can be made a little in advance and stored in the refrigerator. The flavors meld and increase the intensity of the fish. It is a wonderful vegetarian dish as well as a special summer salad especially served with a dry white wine such as a Gavi di Gavi. Today calamari can be found in all fish markets and supermarkets, so you can enjoy either a calamari salad or frutti di mare year round.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
1 1/2 lbs of fresh calamari
1/4 cup of celery, chopped
6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
Parsley, chopped as desired
Salt & pepper to taste
Clean the calamari by removing the inner sack and spine. Pull the tentacles out and remove the beak behind the eye.
Cut the calamari tubes in 1” sections and boil the calamari in salted water for 2 minutes. Remove them and put them in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Take them out of the water and dry them with paper towels.
Add the chopped celery, fresh juice of one lemon, chopped parsley and extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle salt and a few grinds of black pepper and serve cold or at room temperature.
My version is to add boiled cubed potatoes, white cannellini beans or chickpeas and either celery or fennel. Quartered lemons and fresh chopped parsley adds color and flavor.