Elaborate recipes are rare in Puglia, where the tendency is to use just a few basic, but good-quality, ingredients. The squid for this delectable dish must be fresh and carefully cleaned, and the tomatoes need to be juicy and sweet.
1garlic clove, crushed
9tomatoes, peeled and seeded
4 large squid, cleaned and ready to cook (see Cook’s Tip)
60ml/4tbsp grated pecorino cheese
sea salt and ground black pepper
chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
green salad, to serve (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a wide, shallow pan that is large enough to hold all the squid in one layer. Add the garlic and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Do not let it burn or it will taste bitter.
Chop the tomatoes, then add them to the pan. Season to taste. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently and adding a little water if the sauce becomes dry.
Chop the tentacles and add them to the sauce. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl and add the cheese and enough of the beaten egg to bind the mixture. Mix the stuffing well.
Spoon the stuffing into the squid, dividing it evenly among them. The mixture will swell during cooking, so do not overfill the squid.
Either sew the stuffed squid closed using a darning needle threaded with fine kitchen string or twine, or secure them with wooden cocktail sticks or toothpicks.
Lower the stuffed squid into the sauce, cover the pan and simmer very gently for about 1½ hours over a low heat or until the squid are very tender, adding more water as required.
Season with salt and pepper, then serve either hot or cold, garnished with parsley, with crusty bread and a fresh green salad, if you like.