Calamari Al forno (Oven Baked Calamari)


2 Large whole calamari including the tentacles. (Ask your fishmonger to clean for you or remove innards, head and ink head, but keep the tentacles)

2 tins of crushed tomatoes

1 medium onion diced

3-4 dessertspoons of olive oil

About ½ cup Dry white wine

2-3 cloves of garlic chopped

2-3 dessertspoons of fresh basil leaves roughly chopped

½ teaspoon of dried oregano

1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste

Salt and pepper


To prepare sauce

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. In a saucepan sauté onion and garlic on low to medium heat a few minutes until softened. Add tinned tomatoes and stir. Add herbs and tomato paste and then season if required. Put lid on saucepan and allow to simmer on low heat at least 20 minutes.

To assemble the dish

Ladle some of the sauce into an ovenproof casserole dish to lower the base. Put all of the calamari, including the marinade into the dish and cover completely with the tomato sauce. Make sure all of calamari is immersed in sauce to prevent burning. Bake in oven for one hour.
Serve with a green leafy salad with some fennel, and crusty wholegrain bread to mop up the tasty sauce or with oven baked potato wedges.

Nutritional Value

Ideally fish should be included in the diet 3 times per week. This is not always possible perhaps due to availability and cost. It may be as simple as having sardines or canned fish 1-2 times per week and fresh fish at least once a week. Calamari is shaping up to be a good source of the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish. Observational studies have shown that people who eat fish 2-3 times a day have a decreased risk of dementia. Omega 3 fats reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Insufficient brain DHA (the omega 3 fatty acid good for the brain) is associated with memory impairment and adequate dietary intake can slow age related decline and protect against the risk of senile dementia

Don’t be put off cooking with calamari for fear of it being rubbery – the trick to tender calamari is either cooking it very quickly  the fried version you eat at Greek restaurants), or as in this case, for a long time. Calamari is also ideal if you can only get to your sea food supply only occasionally, as Calamari is tenderized by freezing, so you can freeze until you want to make this recipe. The sauce and calamari can be made in advance and stored separately in the fridge overnight and assembled the following day. As usual this recipe is easy to prepare and with only a few simple healthy ingredients- perfect for a weekday meal or good enough to serve at a dinner party!