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Stuffed Calamari with Tomatoes and White Wine

Stuffed Calamari with Tomatoes and White Wine are simply amazing! In this recipe, the whole squid bodies are stuffed with a mixture of squid and shrimp, breadcrumbs, and pecorino cheese. Then they are nestled to cook until tender, in a light sauce of cherry tomatoes and white wine. Absolutely delicious!

A long white plate is filled with stuffed calamari in a cherry tomato sauce.

Fish and seafood are traditionally served on Christmas Eve in Southern Italy and this recipe for stuffed squid, “calamari ripieni”, is one of our favorites. The dish is not at all “fishy” but rather the delicate flavor of the calamari comes through. It is perfectly balanced by the combination of the white wine and tomatoes that it simmers in.  A couple of other fish recipes that are a perfect addition to your Christmas Eve dinner or as a main dish any time of year are Whole Roasted Branzino and Lemon Pepper Salmon with Dill.

I love easy recipes and this one is great because the ingredients are simple, it cooks quickly and there is no need for special equipment, such as a pastry bag or food processor. This is really a perfect dish for a weeknight meal.

Ingredients you will need at notes

A labeled photo of the ingredients needed to make stuffed calamari including cherry tomatoes and shrimp.

For the Squid and Filling

  • Whole squid including the bodies and tentacles. Clean and dry the squid tubes with a paper towel and chop the tentacles into small pieces. *one note is that if you are using frozen squid it is often difficult to determine how large or small the bodies are. Any size squid will work with this recipe.
  • Raw Shrimp that is medium in size, cleaned and with the shells and tails removed. Chop the shrimp into small pieces about the same size as the calamari tentacles.
  • Breadcrumbs, either seasoned store bought or dry homemade breadcrumbs.
  • Grated pecorino romano cheese is my preference but you can substitute parmesan cheese.
  • White Wine such as a chardonnay or a Sauvignon Blanc.

For the Sauce

  • Shallots and Garlic which have been diced.
  • Cherry Tomatoes which have been halved.
  • White wine – Use the same wine you use for the filling.
  • Red pepper flakes are optional. You can also add more or less to taste.

How to make Stuffed Calamari

Four photos showing the steps to making the filling, sauce and stuffed calamari.
  1. Make the filling by sautéing the shallots in a large skillet or frying pan, then add, the tentacles and shrimp. Cook just until the seafood is opaque then add the white wine and cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes.
  2. In medium mixing bowl combine the seafood with all of the cooking juices, breadcrumbs, pecorino, parsley, and salt and black pepper to taste. You can add a little lemon zest if you like as well.
  3. Holding the squid tubes open as best you can stuff them about 3/4 full and secure closed with a toothpick. Stuffing them is much easier with larger calamari!
  4. In the same skillet, add olive oil and sauté shallots and red pepper flakes on low heat until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. The sauce will come to a boil and thicken slightly.
  5. Place the stuffed calamari into the tomato sauce, nestling them in so that the sauce is at least half way up the side of the squid. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Buon Appetito!
Stuffed squid bodies in a sauce of cherry tomatoes.

Cooking notes and variations:

  • If you think the stuffing is a little too dry, you can add a tablespoon of olive oil as a binder.
  • Don’t worry about getting the stuffing into the tip of the tail. The stuffing will expand and fill in as the calamari cooks.
  • Try not to over stuff them. As I said the stuffing expands and the squid constricts a bit, so if they are over stuffed they will break open while cooking.
  • You can add garlic to this sauce, but I found that it really does not need it.
  • If you have lemon and would like to add some zest to the filling it is a nice touch.

Serving Suggestions

It is common in southern Italian homes to cook stuffed calamari in a light marinara sauce and serve it over pasta as a first course. This recipe can also be served as a main course or what we call a second course. The sauce is just delicious over pasta, rice or with polenta.

If you are looking for side dishes to go with this stuffed calamari, our Grilled Eggplant would be delicious or try some Focaccia to soak up the amazing sauce.

FAQ’s

How long does it take calamari to cook?

The general rule is that if you are broiling, braising or baking calamari it should cook for 30-45 minutes at a slow boil.

How do you know if calamari is cooked?

When squid is fully cooked it will turn opaque and milky white in color.

What is the best cooking method for squid?

The trick to cooking squid so that it is tender is either to cook it quickly in high heat so that it does not toughen up (think, frying or sauteing quickly) or to cook it in liquid over a low heat so that the collagens break down and it becomes tender.

A white plate with stuffed squid in a cherry tomato sauce sprinkled with Italian parsley.

Other seafood recipes you will love:

Creamy Lobster Ravioli Sauce

I love to get your feedback so if you tried this Stuffed Calamari or any other recipes on this website, please leave me a comment below. I hope you enjoy our recipes and look forward to hearing from you!

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A white plate with stuffed squid in a cherry tomato sauce sprinkled with Italian parsley.

Stuffed Calamari with Cherry Tomatoes and White Wine

Whole squid bodies are stuffed with a mixture of squid and shrimp, breadcrumbs, and pecorino cheese. Then they are nestled to cook until tender, in a light sauce of cherry tomatoes and white wine. This is an incredibly flavorful combination!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 428 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1-1½ lbs Squid Whole, cleaned. Tentacles (chopped into small pieces) and bodies should be whole

Filling

  • 8-10 Shrimp medium size, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Shallots diced
  • ¼ cup White Wine Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
  • ½ cup Italian Breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup Pecorino Romano Cheese grated
  • 1 tbsp Parsley fresh, chopped
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • tsp Black Pepper ground

Sauce and Calamari

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Shallots diced
  • ¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes use more or less depending on how spicy you want the sauce
  • 6 cups Cherry Tomatoes halved
  • ¾ cup White wine Use the same wine you use for the filling
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt

Instructions
 

Prepare the Filling

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the shallots and cook until tender.
  • Stir in the chopped shrimp and squid tentacles. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Lower the heat and add the wine. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the wine starts to reduce a bit.
  • In a medium mixing bowl combine the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Add the cooked seafood with all of the liquid and mix well.
  • Holding the squid bodies open, use your fingers or a teaspoon to stuff them with the filling. Fill the bodies about 2/3-3/4 full, then secure the opening with a toothpick and set them aside.

Make the sauce

  • In the same skillet you used to cook the tentacles and shrimp, sauté the shallots and red pepper flakes in olive oil. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Lower the heat and stir in the white wine and salt. Cook for 5 minutes on a low boil.
  • Add the stuffed calamari to the cherry tomato sauce, cover and cook on low heat for 30 minutes.

Notes

Cooking notes:
  • If you think the stuffing is a little too dry, you can add a tablespoon of olive oil as a binder.
  • Don’t worry about getting the stuffing into the tip of the tail. The stuffing will expand and fill in as the calamari cooks.
  • Try not to over stuff them. As I said the stuffing expands and the squid constricts a bit, so if they are over stuffed they will break open while cooking.

Nutrition

Serving: 4servingsCalories: 428kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 33gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 403mgSodium: 818mgPotassium: 1031mgFiber: 3gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1326IUVitamin C: 61mgCalcium: 184mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Christmas eve, braise, cherry tomatoes, white wine, stuffed calamari, seafood
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

2 thoughts on “Stuffed Calamari with Tomatoes and White Wine”

    • Hi Anita

      I have never tried freezing them so I can’t recommend it, but they can be made ahead and reheated before serving. I would reheat on the stove top a low heat just until they are heated through. Let me know how you like them if you try them.

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