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Fresh Squids stuffed with cured pancetta, rice, onion, garlic and mini bell pepper dices on a wine-paprika tomato sauce.Fresh Squids stuffed with cured pancetta, rice, onion, garlic and mini bell pepper dices on a wine-paprika tomato sauce.

Spanish Style Stuffed Squids

The Catalan gastronomy has a ton of “surf and turf” traditional dishes for example the meatball with squids, the chicken and crayfish, the mar y montaña paella, etc. They call it : Mar y Montaña which translate to sea and mountain. This recipe is inspired by the Catalan surf and turf, although instead of using the traditional ground meat I’ve used a stuffing of rice, cured pancetta, onion, garlic and bell pepper dices. The sauce is an easy traditional one of fried tomato paste, garlic and paprika with a touch of white wine (or water) and a few flat leaves of parsley for the final touch. This recipe is my personal twist on the Catalan Surf and Turf, it’s not a traditional dish, however similar in taste.

Spanish Style Stuffed Squids

A Catalan Tradition

The Catalans are the kings at mixing up sea products and the land ones, thanks to their geographical situation. The first “Mar y Montaña” style meal I’ve ever tried in Catalonia was the albondigas con sepia, meatballs and cuttlefish. It was an odd combination for me at first but once the first bite was in, I understood why those dishes are so popular in Catalonia. They are fantastic! I know there are many sceptics out there, and it’s fine, surf and turf isn’t for everyone but before you say “no” for eternity. I highly suggest you to try any great Catalan dish and if you are still not convinced, then you’ll be able to surrender…  In my opinion Catalans make those combos of proteins like no one else does!

So let’s make some Mar y Montaña magic happen!


Mar y Montaña Stuffed Squids

stuffed calamari surf and turfIngredients
  • 6 medium size squids
  • 100g of cooked rice
  • 60g of cured pancetta cut into small dices
  • 1/2 onion cut into small dices
  • 1/4 bell pepper cut into small dices
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
The tomato sauce
  • 100g of tomato paste (tomato frito)
  • 75ml of white wine or water
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of spicy paprika
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Start by cleaning up the squids (check this video for more details)
  2. Cook the rice in water or use leftover rice
  3. Cut all the ingredients for the filling
  4. In a small pan, soften the onions for 5 minutes in some olive oil at medium high heat
  5. Add the garlic, pancetta, pepper, salt and pepper and mix it all together with the rice
  6. Stuff the squids pushing down gently to fill the whole pocket, close the end with a moist wooden toothpick
  7. Add all the ingredients of the sauce at the bottom of an ovenproof pot, mix
  8. Add the stuffed squids over the tomato sauce and top with a touch of olive oil and salt
  9. Cook at 180°C (350F) for 25 minutes until the squid are turning golden
  10. Serve with a few freshly cut parsley leaves

 

Enjoy!

Spanish Style Stuffed Squids

Fresh Broad Beans, cured pancetta and truffled pecorino fettuccine is the perfect spring dish. A mix of fresh ingredients for a delicate, fresh and elegant dish!Fresh Broad Beans, cured pancetta and truffled pecorino fettuccine is the perfect spring dish. A mix of fresh ingredients for an delicate, fresh and elegant dish!

Fresh Broad Beans, pancetta and truffled pecorino Linguine

This recipe is my call for spring, a bit the equivalent of the ‘Rain dance’ except it brings the opposite; the sun. This time of the year in Spain it’s the beginning of this delicate and sweet fava/broad beans season, never had such sweet and tasty broad beans than in Catalonia. I have to say though… they look so innocent those little broad beans but to prepare them is a tedious task… Let me explain…

 

The beans are doubly protected; first by the pod which is about 20cm long (the ones from Catalonia) and then it contains about 8 seeds in which are the actual beans. This shell is comestible and could be simply fried and consumed although if you want the sweet and tender part of the beans you’ll have to open then up one by one. Yes, you’ll get sore fingers after a batch but I assure you the extra work is well worth it! This flavour is to die for although it’s not a powerful one, so you’ll have to go soft on the extras that goes with it, not to add too much otherwise it will kill your beans taste. After all that work… better make them the protagonist of the plate no?

Dry egg fettuccine

dry egg pastaAs for the pasta, I’ve used those dry egg fettuccine that comes in a nest form. I like those pasta, to me they are the top notch of pasta (except when handmade) from the supermarket. Flat large pasta usually is used with heavy sauce like Ragu, but here you’ll get a simple touch of olive oil to appreciate them fully. For some reason those pasta feel fluffier and lighter than dry pasta and they look exquisite on a plate. I’m no pasta professional, but those are the closest you can get to homemade pasta so for such a delicate tasting dish it’s perfect!

The sidekicks

Fresh Broad Beans, pancetta and truffled pecorino LinguineFor the extras; a nice cured pancetta with black pepper and truffled pecorino to make the dish “one of a kind”. I mean, of course, you are free to use any type of pancetta or pecorino however those little extras are simply fantastic! Pecorino is quite similar to parmesan although made out of sheep milk which is a taste slightly different and its texture is flakier and softer. As for the pancetta, I ve used a cured one which doesn’t need to be cook really… although I’ve warmed it up in the pan but you could use also a fresh pancetta and cook it with the onions at first.

So let’s bring that spring back!


Fresh Broad Beans, Pancetta and Truffled Pecorino Fettuccine

Makes 2 portions | Preparation: 30 minutes | Difficulty: easy

Ingredients
  • 250g broad beans (with shells)
  • 20g of cured pancetta cut into brunoise (mini dices)
  • 1/4 spring onion cut into brunoise (mini dices)
  • pecorino romano (truffled if possible)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 250g dry egg Fettuccine
  • salt
Directions
  1. Start by doing the hard work; peeling all the fresh broad beans one by one, keeping only the vivid green part
  2. Add the spring onion to a pan with a little olive oil and salt and cook medium-low heat until soften
  3. During that time cook the fettuccine into a big pot of salty boiling water (careful they take less time to cook than normal dry pasta)
  4. Add the small pancetta dices to the onion and cook for a minute
  5. Add the broad beans and cook until warm (1 minute), reserve
  6. Drain the pasta and add immediately the extra-virgin olive oil (about 3 to 4 tbsp)
  7. Mix the beans and the pasta, add to the plates and finish it up with a few shaved pecorino pieces on top with a sprinkle of salt.

 

Enjoy!

Fresh Broad Beans, pancetta and truffled pecorino Linguine