Every Wednesday there is a tradition in our family – “Seafood Pasta Night.” Sometimes as an alternative I make this delicious seafood dish of Stuffed Calamari with Tomato Sauce which I serve on a bed of luscious, warm truffled polenta. If truffles aren’t your favorite, substitute with regular polenta, if short on time, use store-bought good quality Arrabbiata or Marinara sauce to go along with this dish. Calamari tubes are stuffed with sweet combination of seafood such as scallops, shrimp, and calamari which are processed to make smooth paste. Then I add cheese and seasonings to develop that slightly zesty, robust flavor and texture. It is also easier to work with the seafood in the paste form when stuffing the calamari tubes. It takes only 20 minutes to cook stuffed calamari and then, prego, enjoy this delightful dish! — Svitlana Flomm, Art de Fete
To blanch and skin the tomatoes: Using a sharp knife, cut an “X” on the bottom of each tomato, it will help to loosen the skin. Place them in rapidly boiling water for 1 minute, then plunge the tomatoes into an ice bath with the slotted spoon. Let them cool slightly, peel the skin off. Chop the tomatoes finely.
Make the stuffing: Cut the shrimp and scallops in three pieces. In a food processor, blend the shrimp, scallops, 2 sliced calamari tubes and garlic into a coarse paste. Transfer to a bowl. Then add cheese, parsley, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Kitchen tip: make a small patty and cook it in the pan for few minutes on both sides, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Make stuffed calamari: Using a small spoon, start stuffing the calamari tubes until almost full and shapely, leaving just ½-inch opening. Pierce and secure with the toothpick.
Heat some oil in a large wide-sided skillet, add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Then add the tomatoes and sugar. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.
In a single layer, place stuffed calamari on top of the sauce, cover with the lid and cook for 20 minutes on medium-low heat.
Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil, add the polenta, then bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve the calamari either sliced on the bias or intact on a bed of polenta with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and extra serving of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top.