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Cyprian slow-cooked calamari stifado

Recipe from Nino Zoccali's cookbook 
The Venetian Republic

PREP TIME 10 minutes
COOKING TIME 1 hour 10 minutes

The method of slow cooking in Greece is known as stifado; in Italy it’s stufato, based on the Italian word for stove – ‘stufa’. While commonly reserved for meats – especially those with a high-fat content – slow cooking can be used for calamari and octopus too, delivering stunning results. The base ingredients of white wine, olive oil, bay leaf, onion, garlic and tomatoes create great flavour in this dish. For a more intense version, the white wine can be substituted with any quality medium-bodied red wine – my wife’s favourite!

250 ml (1 cup) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
250 ml (1 cup) Xynisteri white wine (any quality dry white wine can be substituted)
1.6 kg (8 cups) chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste (concentrated purée)
2 bay leaves
½ tablespoon Greek oregano
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) small whole calamari, cleaned
8 baby potatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons roughly chopped Italian parsley (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the olive oil and diced onion in a large saucepan over a low heat and cook until the onion becomes translucent.

Add the crushed garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the white wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, oregano and 500 ml (2 cups) water and bring to a simmer.

Add the whole calamari and potatoes and cook over a low heat for 30–60 minutes, or until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley if you like, and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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