I've yet to try any dish featuring porcini that doesn't become an instant favorite for me. After the revelation that I do indeed love squid, my expectations for this recipe were high. And I wasn't disappointed.
These two star ingredients are subtly enhanced by garlic, parsley & dry white wine. The earthiness of the porcini combined with the sweetness of the squid and the fragrance of the wine --- heaven. Pure heaven.
After they are rinsed, soaked and finely chopped, the porcini are cooked in their filtered soaking liquid over medium high heat until the liquid has boiled away. This concentrates the flavor of these magnificent mushrooms and fills the entire house with one of my favorite aromas. Next they are combined with the chopped squid tentacles, pepper, salt, garlic, parsley, bread crumbs and a little olive oil to make the stuffing.
A small amount of stuffing is reserved before the rest is divided equally for stuffing the squid sacs. The stuffed sacs are, if you follow the preferred method, sewn shut with a darning needle. Because I can't darn worth a darn, I chose the alternate method and used some sturdy round toothpicks. The stuffed sacs are then placed in a very hot saute pan containing olive oil.
They are browned quickly on both sides before adding salt, pepper, wine, and the reserved stuffing mix. The sacs are turned again to coat both sides with the mixture, and then the heat is turned down to a very slow simmer. The pan is covered and the squid is allowed to cook slowly for at least 45 minutes, occasionally turning the sacs over. When the squid is done, it is transferered to a cutting board.
After a few minutes to settle, the porcini stuffed squid sacs are sliced and arranged on a platter. The cooking liquids and all the little bits of stuffing that remain in the pan have become a rich and wonderful sauce ready to be spooned over the slices.
Thanks, Marcella, for showing me that squid is so much more than that greasy, rubbery fried appetizer found on the unimaginative menus of chain restaurants.
I'm sad to leave the fish chapter behind.
I'm going to miss my new friend, the noble squid.