Artichoke Stuffed Squid
Totani Ripieni ai Carciofi
The first time I heard about calamari with artichokes I thought it was a little strange. For me there didn’t seem to be a natural affinity between coastal food and this vegetable. Being predominantly surrounded by water and having artichokes growing in most of the country, this natural affinity is something I hadn’t seen until I went to the hilltop town of Perinaldo in Liguria.
This dish comes from Liguria and is the perfect light starter or by bumping up the portion size, could make a main meal. It goes well served with a fluffy, long grain rice. I played around with the styling of this dish for this post so you can choose whatever you feel appropriate.
Perinaldo boasts one of the only two Slowfood listed species of artichokes in Italy and most of the town has sea views so it makes sense that they have a traditional dish with seafood and artichokes. I will post some photos and write a little more about Perinaldo and the artichoke celebration/sagra I visited there, so stay tuned.
I have to explain the basic difference between calamari and totani as this recipe traditionally calls for totani. Unfortunately they both are called squid in English but the subtle visual differences can be explained so you can distinguish one from the other.
Visually, calamari usually have a slight pink colour to them and have two tentalcles longer than all the others. Their internal beak is tender and their eyes are quite large. Totani are generally a little larger, they have short tentacles and their internal beak is harder and more calcified.
The difference that may be critical is that the body of the calamari is more tender than that of the totani. This can be a problem when stuffing them as they may tear more easily, ruining the appearance of the dish. Feel free to use calamari but you just need to be a little more aware of how you handle and cook them to maintain a perfectly intact body.
Ingredients (serves 4)
600g/1.4lb whole squid, tentacles included and cleaned.
200g/7.5oz peeled prawns /shrimp
1 small bunch of parsley (finely chopped)
1 clove of garlic
1 glass of dry white wine
salt & pepper
Begin gently heating the peeled garlic clove in some olive oil. Allow the garlic to gain a golden colour.
Remove the garlic once golden brown. Drain the artichokes of the lemon water and place them in the pan and increase to a moderate heat. Continue cooking till slightly tender.
While the artichokes are cooking, clean the squid. Ideally, this can be done by your fishmonger for you. Otherwise you’ll need to remove the beak and eyes without tearing the body of the squid. Rinse well under running water.
Cut off the tentacles at the base of the body.
Chop the tentacles up finely with the prawns / shrimps.
Add these to the pan with the artichokes and allow to cook through.
Add half a glass of wine to the pan and allow to reduce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place the contents of the pan in a food processor and pulse a few times. (We are after a chunky finish to the filling, NOT a paste.)
When the filling is cool enough to handle, begin stuffing the empty cavities of the squids.
It’s better to have some filling left over than to have an overstuffed squid.
Once they are sufficiently filled, use a toothpick to close the opening. Sometimes both ends may need closing with a toothpick.
Pre-heat your oven to 200 C / 390 F
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a non-stick pan and place in the stuffed squids to gain some colour all over. If you don’t like using non-stick pans, be extra careful that the squid does not stick to the surface of the pan as it may tear. Also, be careful not to tear the squid skin with any of the utensils you use.
Splash with the remaining wine and a handful of chopped parsley and place the pan in the oven to finish cooking for 30 to 40 minutes. If your pan cannot be used in an oven, transfer the contents of the pan to a shallow baking tray.
If you want to serve with rice, this is the time to begin preparing it. It will only take 20 minutes in total to prepare the rice so judge for yourself. Here is the rice recipe for a simple pilaf.
Once your rice is cooked and your squid is ready, bring them together to serve on a single plate or serving dish.
I tried a version with whole squids and a version where I sliced the squid for a different look. I used a reduced balsalmic vinegar to dress the sliced squid, which tastes great if used sparingly.
Tags: artichoke recipes, artichoke stuffed squid, artichokes, liguria artichokes, ligurian artichoke recipes, perinaldo artichokes, ricette carciofi, stuffed squid with artichokes, totani ripieni ai carciofu