Calamari Risotto Recipe for Clean Monday!

This calamari risotto recipe is a delicious dish for lent or any time of the year! It’s very easy to cook even though it does take a bit of time so you should get started at least an hour and a half before you plan to eat.

You can either use fresh or frozen calamari. When we use fresh calamari we usually ask our fish monger to clean our calamari and cut it up in rings. When we use frozen calamari we take it out of the freezer at least half an hour before we start cooking, wash them with lukewarm water and leave to drain.

Saffron is really what sets this dish apart. We always keep some in our cupboard, preferably from the Greek area of Kozani.

You can use any kind of rice for this dish but we prefer nyhaki and basmati. If you decide to use brown rice, your cooking time will go up, dependeing on the variety of the rice.

Just a few minutes before your food is ready you can add a little ouzo. It will take your risotto to another level!

Calamari Risotto Recipe

5 from 4 votes
Course: FAMILY FEAST, SIMPLE MAINSCuisine: GreekDifficulty: Easy


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A delicious dish for Kathara Deftera or Clean Monday that you will enjoy throughout the year!


  • 1 kilo calamari rings

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 2 onions, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 red pepper, finely sliced

  • 2 tomatoes, grated

  • 2 cups rice

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1 teaspoon saffron strands

  • salt

  • pepper


  • Heat the olive oil in a wide cooking pan
  • Add the onions, garlic and red pepper and saute them for 5 minutes till they start to soften up
  • Sprinkle the juice over the calamari rings and then add them to the pan and saute for a 5-7 minutes until the exterior is cooked
  • Add the grated tomatoes, a little salt and pepper and bring to the boil
  • Add four cups of water and bring to the boil
  • Lower the heat at bit to medium-low and let simmer for 30 minutes
  • Add the rice
  • Close the lid, lower the temperature and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the rice is cooked. Check whether you need to add a bit of water in case it evaporates too quickly
  • Pour some hot water to an espresso cup and add the saffron. Let soak until needed
  • When you think your rice has around 5 more minutes to cook add the saffron and mix
  • Serve with some delicious lenten sea food meze such as octopus!

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