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Stuffed Squid (Calamari) In Tomato Sauce

Stuffed Squid (Calamari) In Tomato Sauce is an Italian traditional meal served on Christmas Eve. I have continued to make it since mom passed away in 1999. 

Stuffed Calamari (Squid) in tomato sauce
 one of the many 7 Fishes on Christmas Eve Traditions

When I say this is an art. I mean it takes skill and patience too! 

A real tradition in my family every Christmas Eve. Mom, from Bari, use to prepare this that night, dad would be so impatient as it was his favorite. Another one of those dishes, when I was a small child I would shun away from. Now, I only wish I could go back in time knowing the art it was to  watch her make this so perfect, tender and delectable as she did, then to learn exactly what she put in hers.  After many years of trying to master her recipe, I finally got a taste that brough tears in my eyes to have a part of her in our home for this holiday season. After all, Christmas Eve is a time for family to be close,  making memories for their kids to pass on, this one will be it for me.
 I have  had her recipes that say ingredients on index cards for years now, there were never amounts written down, until now. This is a memorable treat for me, some of  my family remembers Mom's stuffed calamari for every Christmas Eve,  my kids will now learn our many years of traditional 7 fishes and this dish will now be added with love!
My brothers called them torpedo's. I guess they do look like them.

20 cleaned calamari/squid tubes (This will stuff 20 small tubes. Make a double batch if you have large tubes.)
2 cups bread crumbs Italian flavored
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup Romano grating cheese
2 cloves minced garlic
6 hard boiled eggs finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil or more
Marinara Sauce (that's what I use) or
Traditional Sunday Sauce (without meat )or your favorite
Pasta of choice boiled in salt water.

In a medium size bowl mix bread crumbs with all seasonings. On the side of the squid opening cut a small slit to open the tops wider. Stuff  the squid using your fingers to get down to the end of the squid being careful not to rip them open at the bottoms and leave expanding space at the tops.  After filling all the squid, secure the tops of each one with tooth picks. I like to brown mine first before adding to the pot of sauce. I saute them in olive oil with some minced garlic until browned. (You don't have to do this step if you don't want to.) I then drop them into a 5 quart pot of  tomato sauce and cook for three hours on low or  more until the squid is soft and tender.
Serve the squid over linguine, percatelli, or your favorite pasta.

The word calamari is the plural form of the Italian word for squid, Calamaro.It's calamar in Spanish. The name derives from the Latin word calamarium for "ink pot."Since calamari seems to sound more palatable than the word squid, you will most often see squid recipes listed as calamari on restaurant menus, recipes, etc. It's one of those words that just "sounds better" or "has class," according to some people. Whether you eat calamari or squid, you're eating the same thing.

Don't forget to check out our other favorite
7 Fishes on Christmas Eve
Christmas Roundup Recipes
Christmas Eve Recipes
Our One Stop Cookie Shop
More Italian Holiday Recipes


  1. I love how your family has these traditional dishes that you so generously share with your readers. I would love to come to your house and learn how to prepare them with you. When I went to Italy I fell in love with the food and people, but when I got home I only had books to learn from. Everybody needs an Italian mom/grandma to learn from, if you want to make the best food. Books don't teach the tricks, tips and love that moms do. Because you take the time to share many of us can learn from a real Italian mom. Thanks Claudia! And I am glad to see that Curt and Gino realize what a treasure you are and are in the kitchen learning from you as well.

  2. Wonderful ^__^ I love stuffed squids cooked in this way. Bye, have a great week end

  3. I knew this had to be one of your dishes for Christmas Eve. We'd always have oyster stew growing up, but I'd welcome 6 more seafood options!

  4. What a coincidence, I made calamari just a while ago for lunch but I just floured them and fried them. Yours is so much more delicious! Thank you for the recipe.

  5. Wow, this sounds awesome! I love squid (Calamari). I'll bet this is fantastic stuffed.

  6. Claudia, I've never made squid, let alone stuffed it. This has to be very time consuming and an art for such little bitty pieces. I'm sure these taste fantastic. You're a talented chef!

    Have a great weekend!

  7. I've never had them stuffed (love that your brothers called them torpedoes!). What an endearing, delicious recipe! There's a lot of love going into that dish - and isn't that why we cook?

  8. These look delicious and I can see where patience is needed. The only calamari I've had is breaded and fried but it's like a pretty tasteless rubber to me. This on the other hand seems like a dish I could really like.

  9. I've always shied away from making calamari, but I will certainly try this! Happy Holidays!

  10. I do not now, nor will I ever eat squid, but this is how my mom liked to prepare it. I remember her using "colorful" language when she stuffed it, so I know how much patience it took for you to produce these. Thanks for the memories.

  11. I absolutely adore calamari and this is such a wonderful way to enjoy it!!

  12. Oh my gosh Claudia the word patience is an understatement!!! I like to bake mine in tomato sauce. Eggs are the difference in our family recipes. This is a very time consuming dish and one I won't be serving this year.

    Fabulous dish and tradition friend.

    Wishing you and yours a blessed and beautiful Christmas.

  13. Wow, that looks great! It sees you have certainly mastered the art of stuffing them!

  14. Got to make these for my know i am not huge fan of squid, but would totally try it!!!!

  15. Very interesting. I do love calamari - but only know the battered, deep fried rings and the "little animals" (which I don't like).

    Merry Christmas, Claudia. :)

  16. Don't get squid too often but this is a wonderful recipe; I can see why your dad loved it so much.

    Have a great happy Christmas

  17. Oh man, how I love calamari! I am always scared I'll make it too chewy, but your recipe sounds to die for :)


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