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Calamari stuffed with potatoes and pesto on a bed of pumpkin and pine nuts

Il calamaro ripieno è una ricetta povera della cucina ligure. Source: Beatrice Piazza

From Melbourne, Italian chef Beatrice Piazza recalls her roots through a Genoese seafood recipe that she adapted to the Australian taste.

Beatrice Piazza, chef at Cucinetta restaurant in South Yarra, Melbourne, has been living in Australia for three years, after spending ten years in France where she was trained as a chef.

In Australia, however, she has rediscovered her roots and home flavours, and the recipe she’s shared for stuffed squid on a bed of pumpkin tells a little about her story.

I wanted to re-evaluate my origins by adapting a poor recipe like stuffed calamari to the Australian taste, so I added pumpkin.

Here's how to prepare her recipe. 

Calamari stuffed with potatoes and pesto on a bed of pumpkin and pine nuts

Ingredients (for 4 people)

  • 8 medium-sized squid
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes
  • 200g butternut pumpkin

For the pesto:

  • 1 or 2 bunches of Greek basil (depending on the size)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 100g of pine nuts
  • 100gr of Sardinian pecorino
  • 100g of Parmesan cheese
  • 50cl of extra virgin olive oil
  • Black pepper to taste (no salt needed)


Let's start with preparing the pesto. Toast the pine nuts in a pan, turning them constantly for a few minutes so that they do not burn.

In a blender, add the well-washed basil leaves, ¾ of the pine nuts, pecorino and parmesan cheese, and garlic. While everything is being blended, add the oil slowly.

Meanwhile, let's prepare the pumpkin. Bake in the oven at 200 ° for 10 minutes so that the skin softens. Cut into small cubes and cook either in a pan with oil, salt and pepper to taste or put them back in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Boil the potatoes and then mash. Add part of the pesto and mix well.

Then clean the squid by removing the tentacles and bones and boil in salted water until the squid's body dilates slightly.

With a sac-à-poche, insert the potato and pesto filling inside each squid and close with a toothpick.

Cook in a pan with hot oil for about 5 minutes. Turn the squid in order to obtain a golden and homogeneous colour. In the same pan cook the tentacles that we will need to decorate.

All that is left to do is to serve and enjoy while hot.

Buon appetito!

To listen to the recipe by Genoese chef Beatrice Piazza and her advice on how to best prepare pesto and much more, listen to the podcast of the interview (in Italian):

Calamari ripieni di patate e pesto su letto di zucca e pinoli
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