The people of Pescara have a delicious way of preparing stuffed calamari, and I am happy to share the recipe here. I would choose this over the quick-fried rings any time.






Skill level

Average: 4.3 (3 votes)


  • 4 medium calamari (about 1 kg/2 lb 3 oz total), cleaned, tentacles reserved
  • 80 g (2¾ oz) crustless bread, broken into small pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 25 g (1 oz/⅓ cup) grated aged pecorino
  • finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1 tsp salted capers, soaked in water for 10 minutes, drained
  • 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • splash of milk (optional)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) dry white wine
  • sea salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Serves 4 as a starter.

  1. Wash the calamari in a bowl of cold water, making sure the inside of each tube is clean and the entire quill has been removed. I like to trim about 5 mm off the pointy top of the tube so that no air is incorporated when you add the stuffing. This way you can also run water through the entire length of the tube, making sure the inside is well cleaned. You can trim the wings near the top of the tube, then cook them with the stuffed calamari, or keep them attached to the body. Set the washed tubes aside.
  2. Divide each set of tentacles in half, setting aside half to cook with the stuffed calamari. Finely chop the remaining tentacles and place in a bowl to make the stuffing. Add the bread, garlic, cheese, lemon zest, capers, anchovies, parsley, pepper and egg. If the mixture is a bit dry, add a splash of milk. Spoon the mixture into the tubes, taking care not to overfill them. Secure the wide end of each tube with a toothpick and pin the reserved tentacles to the tubes.
  3. Pour the olive oil into a frying pan large enough to fit all the seafood and heat over medium heat. Add the stuffed calamari and cook for a few minutes until they change colour; the tentacles should curl immediately. Turn the calamari over and cook for a few more minutes until coloured, then add the white wine and allow it to cook off briefly. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, for 40 minutes or until the calamari is tender, turning occasionally so they cook evenly. Scatter on some salt to taste. If there is a lot of liquid in the pan, remove the cooked calamari and turn up the heat until it reduces. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve.
  4. Cut each calamari tube into four or five slices and serve with the tentacles on the side. Finish with a drizzle of the strained pan juices.


Recipe and images from Adriatico by Paola Bacchia, Smith Street Books, RRP $55.00