This recipe for Italian stuffed calamari relies upon the freshest seafood. Cleaning and preparing the fresh squid takes time but the result is a world away from thick tough ready-to-use frozen squid tubes. Teamed with a tomato sauce spiked with anchovies this dish is a winner.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (124 votes)


  • 4 whole squid
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium size anchovies
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 250 ml (1 cup) red wine
  • 2 x 375 g cans Italian crushed tomatoes or passata


  • 2 tsp olive oil 
  • ½ onion, diced
  •  garlic cloves finely chopped, plus 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ thick slice pancetta, diced 
  • ½ fennel bulb, diced
  • salt
  • 1 splash white wine
  • 3 slices one-day-old Italian bread, pulsed in food processor to make breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • ½ sprig rosemary, finely chopped
  • ½ dried red chilli, finely chopped
  • pepper
  • ¼ lemon rind finely grated

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.


To prepare squid, gently pull off the tentacles so the insides come out as well. Cut just underneath the eyes and set the tentacles aside. Remove and discard any beak from the tentacles. Discard the eyes and any insides and gently pull cartilage from the hood and discard. A pinch of salt on your fingers will help to grip the skin on the hood as you remove it. Wash calamari gently.

For the stuffing, heat olive oil in a small saucepan, add onion and chopped garlic and cook until onion becomes translucent. Add pancetta and fennel, cook for a few more minutes. Season with salt. Add white wine and simmer until evaporated.

In a large bowl, add mixture to breadcrumbs, parsley, rosemary, chilli, salt and pepper, crushed garlic and lemon rind.

Place approximately 2 tsp of stuffing into prepared squid. Don’t overfill. Leave a finger space inside, as mixture will expand when cooking. Use a toothpick to attach tentacles to stuffed squid.

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add anchovies and garlic. When anchovies have infused in the oil, place stuffed squid in the frypan and seal. Add red wine and crushed tomatoes and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes.

Gently transfer squid and sauce into a narrow baking dish. If the sauce doesn’t cover the squid, add water. Bake for 45 minutes.

Serve with rocket salad and lemon wedges.