Stuffed Myself Silly With Stuffed Squid…

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on July 13, 2010

Seafood was always big in our house. I remember going fishing as a young kid, then coming home cleaning our catch and cooking (actually frying) for hours until we finished. Growing up, we lived in an apartment, so pulling out the grill was not an option for us. So, our other alternative was to fry. 

Oh, how delicious and simple they were. Once fried, my mom would make her delicious vinaigrette dressing and pour it over the fish once they cooled….so delicious! But I digress…

This weekend, I made some stuffed squid that was out of this world good, and I thought I would share this recipe with you. I had found some HUGE squid tubes at the market and did not want to turn this delicacy into calamari, so the next best thing was to stuff it. When I made this dish in the past, I was one of those people that used toothpicks to close up the opening, but a few years ago I read that just a light sauté will help the opening close around the filling all by itself…and it is true! I had some leftover rice, so I used that along with some onions, mixed herbs and tomato paste and created a delicious filling. I know that using cheese in seafood is a big NO NO, but I still think a little bit of shredded mozzarella in this would have been divine!  Altogether, this dish took about 1 ½ – 2 hours to make. Next time, I will look for slightly smaller tubes, because the larger ones were just so thick that they required slightly longer stewing time in the tomato sauce. If the tubes are smaller and thinner, you can knock your cooking time down to 1 hour.

An original recipe from

Stuffed Squid

2 cups buttermilk

6 large squid tubes

 2 large yellow onion or 6 medium shallots, finely chopped

3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil

4 cups rice, cooked

1 small can tomato paste

3 cups water


1 bay leaf

½ cup parsley, chopped 

Clean and rinse the squid tubes and soak them in buttermilk overnight to tenderize…we are not brining this, so do not salt and pepper this mixture. To soak the tubes, you can either put the squid tubes into a glass dish and cover with the buttermilk or you can add everything into a large sealable plastic bag. Many people use an acidic mixture, but I find that the acid does not really help. You actually need an enzyme, which is why I use either pineapple juice, papaya juice or buttermilk. If you use the pineapple or papaya, be careful not to soak for too long or it will get too mushy. The size and the thickness of the squid tubes will dictate the amount of time.  Look at my HUGE squid tubes…

To make the filling:The next day, make your rice  and let cool. Add ¼ cup olive oil to a large fry skillet, add 1 of your chopped onions and caramelize for a few minutes. When the onion is nice and golden, add in 1 chopped clove of your garlic and stir for a few seconds…be careful not to burn it. Next, add 2 teaspoons of tomato paste and cook all of this together for another few minutes, then add the rice and toss all the ingredients together until well mixed. Lastly add in the chopped parsley and check for salt and pepper.

NOTE: I actually diced up 2 of the squid tubes and sautéed them with the onions and garlic before I added the rice. You can either do that, or if the squid comes with the tentacles, you can chop the tentacles and add them to the filling instead of throwing them away. They make a great addition.

To fill the squid: Remove the squid from the buttermilk and rinse well under cold water and set aside. Take a spoon and slowly add the filling to the squid. Make sure not to over fill because when you sauté the squid, and the muscle contracts, it will squeeze the filling out. This is how mine looked after they were filled…

Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil to another large skillet and gently sauté the squid until the opening close completely then remove onto a large plate. This is how mine looked, see the opening closed by itself!

How to make a quick tomato sauce:Add the remaining ¼ cup olive oil to the same skillet in which you just sautéed the stuffed squid. Caramelize the remaining onions add the garlic and the rest of the tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste well to caramelize it and extract its sweetness. Mine looked like this…

Then add the water and the bay leaf and at this point taste for salt and pepper…

Lastly, nestle the squid tubes into the sauce, lower the temp to a slow simmer, cover with a lid and let it cook slowly for 20-30 minutes, basting and turning during this time. Or you can put them into a smaller skillet where the sauce will completley cover them and you will not need to baste them at all.

Serve warm with a great salad…

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Anna Johnston July 14, 2010 at 2:36 p

I’m in love with this stuffed squid, it looks amazing. Thanks Catarina.
Cheers Anna

avatar Caterina Borg July 16, 2010 at 7:24 p

You are very welcome…there is much more to come!

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