La Vera Cucina

Calamari Ripieni

At Café Maria, restaurateur Giacomo Latragna satisfies his Frenchtown, NJ, regulars with traditional specialties from his native Sicily. (He comes from Carini, near Palermo.)

Here, Giacomo shares his family’s favorite recipe for Calamari Ripieni, fresh calamari stuffed with pinoli (aka pignoli) and raisins and cooked in wine!


  • 4 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 large calamari (or ¹⁄³ pound small tubes), cleaned
  • 2 tablespoon fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 6 ounces white wine
  • 1 cup whole cherry tomatoes



In a large mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs, olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Then add pine nuts and raisins; stir until mixed evenly. Stuff half the mixture into each large calamari or 1 tablespoon per small one; close hole with toothpick. (Not necessary for small ones.)

Heat skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sauté calamari, turning once. Place sautéed calamari into small baking dish. Pour wine over calamari and add cherry tomatoes. Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes until calamari is tender. Serve over your favorite pasta or even couscous.

About Pinoli (aka Pignoli)

In Sicily and around the Mediterranean, pinoli (pine nuts) impart a hint of “piney” flavor to a variety of traditional recipes. Their faint “pine needle” taste comes from being pine tree seeds. They are obtained by gathering and breaking apart large brittle pinecones to release their hard-shelled seeds. After these hard shells are hulled, their soft golden kernels are dried before use in cooking or baking.