This is a very traditional Catalan recipe that is very easy to make and it comes out really yummy. There are many versions to the recipe, and it is more traditional to do it with cuttlefish than calamari. However, because we live in the country, and we do not have access to big fish co-ops or markets like the ones in Australian big cities, I have adapted the same recipe using calamari. It's still sooo good, you want to make it for a special day when you feel like having the ultimate comfort food. 


For the meatballs
500 g pork and veal mince
300 g green prawns, peeled and chopped (keep the prawn heads
1 egg
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 bread slice, without the crust, soaked in milk
1 handful of parsley, chopped
a pinch of ground cinnamon
olive oil
salt and pepper

For the calamari
600 g calamari or cuttlefish, cut into 5 cm squares
250 ml red wine

For the sauce
1 onion, chopped very finely
250 gr chopped tin tomatoes
250 ml chicken stock
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 fresh bayleaf
1 handful of parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp flour
25 g pine nuts
salt and pepper

Start by cleaning the calamari tubes and cutting them in the middle and then into long strips. Cut each strip into 5 cm pieces and put in a saucepan with the red wine. 

Bring wine to the boil and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Keep in the saucepan.
Mix the mince with the chopped prawn meat in a big bowl. Add the egg, the garlic and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of ground cinnamon. Squeeze the soaked bread and add to the bowl. Mix with your hands until all ingredients are well combined.

Wet your hand with a bit of cold water and make meatballs the size of a ping-pong ball. Put on a plate. Refrigerate for about 20 - 30 minutes.

Put some flour on a plate and dust the meatballs, shaking off any extra flour. 

Put some oil in a frypan and cook the meatballs in batches. Cook until they are brown all over. Keep warm on a plate.

To make the sauce, chop the onion in a food processor until very finely chopped. Add to the frypan, using the same oil from cooking the meatballs together with the prawn heads. Cook until the onion starts to turn brown and then add the flour. Mix well.

Add the tomato and mix well. Let it cook for about 5 minutes and then add the wine from cooking the calamari, the stock, the cinnamon, bayleaf and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer covered for about 10 minutes.

Cook until the sauce has thickened.

Preheat oven to 180C.
Get a big bowl and put a fine colander on top of it. Remove and discard the bayleaf and pour the sauce in the colander. 

Sieve pushing with a wooden spoon or a pestle. 

Push all solids through the sieve until you get basically nothing left. See picture below.

Scrape the back of the colander for any solids and add to the bowl.

Put the meatballs and the calamari in an ovenproof dish and pour the sauce on top. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Serve with some vegetables of your choice or with some crusty bread or any other bread you have at home to mop up the sauce. They are just delicious!!😋

Serves 4 - 6

Here they were served with baked potatoes with paprika and salt and baked asparagus.