Italian Stuffed Calamari Recipe in Tomato Sauce

Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Italian Stuffed Calamari Recipe in Tomato Sauce- this whole calamari is filled with savory bread stuffing and slowly simmered in a light tomato sauce. They are tender and delicate. Buon appetito!

stuffed calamari with tomato sauce served in a plate with crusty bread . Cut open and bite taken out of calamari.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Delicious with Creamy Polenta! More Italian seafood recipes Shrimp Scampi Pasta, Salmon Piccata, Squid Ink Pasta Recipe with Shrimp and Cherry Tomato Sauce, Crispy Baked Cod, Lobster Ravioli Sauce with Brown Butter, and Crispy Calamari Air Fryer Recipe.

Italian Stuffed Calamari Recipe in Tomato Sauce (Calamari Ripieni)

Italian Stuffed Calamari is a classic Italian recipe for making tender and tasty stuffed squid

This stuffed calamari recipe (calamari ripieni) is a family favorite and specialty of Southern Italy. We love to make this dish in Sardegna at our family beach home since the calamari is always super fresh. It’s one of those easy recipes you can make at home!

Serve it family-style with crusty bread, and enjoy!

Stuffed Calamari in Tomato Sauce is perfect for your Christmas Eve fish and seafood dinner. Or, enjoy it any time of the year as we do.

stuffed calamari with tomato sauce served in a plate with crusty bread . Cut open and bite taken out of calamari.

Simple Ingredients

  • Calamari with tentacles
ingredient shot for recipe

For the filling:

  • Tentacles
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic, minced
  • Freshly chopped parsley 
  • White wine 
  • Bread crumbs from day-old or stale bread
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
  • Freshly grated Pecorino cheese
  • Large egg
  • Salt and Balck Pepper to taste 
ingredient shot for recipe- sauce

For the tomato sauce

  • Olive oil
  • Garlic Clove
  • Dried red pepper flakes
  • Tomato passata (tomato purée), or crushed canned tomatoes 
  • Salt to taste

See the recipe card for quantities.

*Note on cheese and seafood: We typically do not add cheese to fish or seafood in Italy. For example, we do not add freshly grated parmigiano cheese to Seafood Pasta with Red Sauce with grated cheese. The cheese overpowers the fresh seafood.

In this case, we are breaking the rule ;)! Adding Pecorino and Parmigiano cheese to the filling adds a delicious salty flavor that works well with the bread filling.

Read why you should Grate Your Own Cheese!

How to Make Italian Stuffed Calamari Recipe in Tomato Sauce (Step-by-Step Photo Instructions)

Clean the Calamari

process of making Italian Stuffed Calamari Recipe in Tomato Sauce: washing calamari in water and drying them.

Rinse the calamari. Run water through the tube and drain it. Pat dry with paper towels.

Italian Stuffed Calamari Recipe in Tomato Sauce- chopping calamari tentacles

With a sharp knife, chop off the tentacles, finely chop them, and place them in a bowl. 

Prepare Stuffed Calamari Filling

Italian Stuffed Calamari Recipe in Tomato Sauce- frying tentacles in olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan with medium-high heat and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Heat until the garlic is just beginning to give off its aroma (1-2 minutes).

Add the tentacles and stir.

Add wine and let simmer for a few minutes—season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool. 

Italian Stuffed Calamari Recipe in Tomato Sauce- making stuffing with bread crumbs, herbs, and cheese.

Add the bread crumbs, egg, cheese, and parsley in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. 

Italian Stuffed Calamari Recipe in Tomato Sauce- add sautéed tentacles to bread crumb mixture.

When the sauteed tentacles have completely cooled, add them to the breadcrumb mixture.

Use a fork to combine the breadcrumbs and sauteed calamari. Set aside.

How to Stuff Calamari Tubes

Italian Stuffed Calamari Recipe in Tomato Sauce- stuffing the calamari tubes with the stuffing

Use your fingers, a pastry bag with a broad tip, or a small spoon to stuff the calamari with the filling.

Be sure to press down to fill the bottom end of the calamari. Leave about an inch of space at the top since the filling will expand while cooking and may come out of the top. Secure the open end with a toothpick.

Cook Calamari in Tomato Sauce

Italian Stuffed Calamari Recipe in Tomato Sauce- frying garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil and white wine. .

In a large saute pan with medium-high heat (large pan enough to fit all the squid in one layer), sauté a garlic clove and red pepper flakes in olive oil.

frying the calamari in a pan with olive oil.

Add the stuffed squid and turn them in the oil until they turn an opaque white (about 1 minute on each side). 

adding the tomato sauce and cooking the calamari for 30 minutes.

Add the tomato puree and salt, stir to mix it thoroughly into the cooking juices, and cover. Lower the heat.

stuffed calamri in tomato sauce after cooking.

Let the squid braise in a slow simmer until tender, about 30 minutes (or longer if your squid is very large).

Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm with crusty bread! Don’t forget to remove the toothpicks.

stuffed calamari with tomato sauce served in a plate with crusty bread

Variations to Stuffing Mixture

You can vary the filling to the stuffed calamari to change it up a bit. Here are some options for you.

  • Add a tablespoon of chopped pine nuts and raisins. This variation is common in some recipes.
  • Add fresh basil to the tomato sauce if desired.
  • Use cherry tomatoes or fresh tomatoes to make the tomato-based sauce.
  • Use a bit of chopped shrimp in the filling.
stuffed calamari with tomato sauce served in a plate with crusty bread

What to serve with Stuffed Calamari

In Italy, we don’t serve meat or fish course with pasta. Pasta is the first course, and the stuffed calamari served with a simple vegetable side dish is the second course. You can, of course, serve it to your preference!

Top Tips

  • Do not fill the calamari to the top of the open end. Leave about an inch of space, as the filling will expand during cooking.

FAQs

Why does calamari get rubbery?

Calamari turns tough and rubbery only when overcooked. The trick to a tender and soft texture is to cook it quickly over high heat or slowly over low, whether sauteing, roasting, stir-frying, grilling, or even deep-frying.

What is the difference between calamari and squid?

Calamari and squid are the same things. Calamari is another name for squid meat (Italian name). Calamari includes both the body and tentacles of the squid. That is what we use in this Italian Stuffed Calamari Recipe.

stuffed calamari with tomato sauce served in a plate with crusty bread . Cut open and bite taken out of calamari.

More delicious recipes-

Make sure to leave a ⭐️star rating on the recipe card and comment below if you make the recipe. I love to connect with you through my recipes.

I would love for you to tag me on Instagram @cucinabyelena so I can see your delicious Italian recipes. To get more ideas, follow me on Pinterest.

Print
clockclock iconcutlerycutlery iconflagflag iconfolderfolder iconinstagraminstagram iconpinterestpinterest iconfacebookfacebook iconprintprint iconsquaressquares iconheartheart iconheart solidheart solid icon
cover photo.

Italian Stuffed Calamari Recipe in Tomato Sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 4 reviews

Italian Stuffed Calamari Recipe in Tomato Sauce- this whole calamari are filled with savory bread stuffing and slowly simmered in a light tomato sauce. They are tender and delicate. Buon appetito!

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 lbs calamari cleaned, with tentacles (about 8 calamari)

For the filling:

  • Tentacles saved from cleaned calamari, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs from day-old bread
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • Salt and Balck Pepper to taste

For the tomato sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 250 gr tomato passata (tomato purée), or crushed canned tomatoes
  • salt to taste

Instructions

Prepare Calamari: 

  1. Rinse the calamari. Run water through the tube and drain it. Pat dry with paper towels.
  2. With a sharp knife, chop off the tentacles, finely chop them, and place them in a bowl. 

Make Filling: 

  1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan with medium-high heat and add the minced garlic. When the garlic is just beginning to give off its aroma (1-2 minutes), add the tentacles and stir. Add wine and let simmer for a few minutes—season with salt and pepper. Then, take off the heat and let it cool. 
  2. Add the bread, egg, cheese, and parsley to a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine. 
  3. When the tentacles are completely cooled, add to the bread crumb mixture and stir to combine. 

Stuff Calamari:

  1. Use your fingers, a pastry bag with a broad tip, or a small spoon to stuff the calamari with the filling.
  2. Be sure to press down to fill the bottom end of the calamari. Leave about an inch of space at the top since the filling will expand while cooking and may come out of the top. Secure the open end with a toothpick. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Prepare Sauce and Cook Stuffed Calamari: 

  1. In a large saute pan with medium-high heat (large pan enough to fit all the squid in one layer), sauté a garlic clove and red pepper flakes in olive oil. When it is just beginning to brown, remove it.
    Add the stuffed squid and turn them in the oil until they turn an opaque white (about 1 minute on each side). 
  2. Add the tomato puree and salt, stir to mix it thoroughly into the cooking juices, and cover. Lower the heat. Let the squid braise in a slow simmer until tender, about 30 minutes (or longer if your squid is very large).
  3. Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm with crusty bread! Don’t forget to remove the toothpicks. 
  • Author: Elena
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

You May Also Like

About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

8 Comments

  1. These were awesome. I had some of the stuffing left over and used it to make stuffed mushroom caps. Two for the price of one. Great recipe.






  2. I put chopped shrimp, crabmeat and the tentacles in my stuffing. Will they cook in the Calamari?? I’m baking them slowly. Thank you