24 fresh calamari (about 3 lbs. whole or 2 lbs. cleaned tubes and tentacles)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups finely chopped onions
1 cup pine nuts, chopped
1 cup raisins, soaked in hot water to plump for 20 minutes, drained and chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup clam juice
1 recipe of Sea Breeze Tomato Sauce
Yield: 6 generous portions
To clean whole squid: Rinse thoroughly. Pull the tentacles from the body sac. If using the squid ink, remove the slender, silver ink sack from the strands connected to the tentacles. Clean the tentacles by cutting just below the eyes and retaining just the leg portion. Turn back the tentacles and squeeze gently to reveal the bead-like "beak." Pinch off the beak and discard. Gently squeeze out all of the viscera from the squid tubes making sure to remove the hard, transparent "quill" that runs the length of the interior wall. Peel the purplish skin from the outside of the tube. Rinse and pat dry. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 300degrees
Slowly sauté the onions, pine nuts, raisins, and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are soft and cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the parsley, salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine the onion mixture with the breadcrumbs, egg and clam juice. Chop up the calamari tentacles and stir into the stuffing mixture. Stuff the calamari tubes with about 2 tablespoons of the filling. Use a large pastry bag to conveniently stuff the calamari. Do not overfill or the tubes will burst during cooking. Secure the ends closed with toothpicks. Chill until ready to cook.
Make the sauce
Arrange the stuffed calamari on top of the sauce. Cover and braise in the oven for 45 minutes or until the calamari is completely cooked through and tender. Remove the toothpicks. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve hot.
To make this dish even more traditional stir 5-6 drops of squid ink into the sauce before you bake it. The ink can be found at your local fish market, or your local gourmet shop. Use it carefully ,because 1single teaspoon, will color black a whole gallon of sauce!