Dec 27, 2015

Fancy Meal at Home - Squid Ink Risotto with Seared Cuttlefish

Squid, cuttlefish, calamari (and the list goes on), I've always been confused by these varieties. The fish vendor patiently showed me the differences many times but I can still point at a round looking cephalopod and call it a squid instead of the correct name cuttlefish. Don't judge.

I'm pretty sure cuttlefish was used for the risotto recipe especially the lady at the fish stand told me fresh squid wasn't available during this time of the year. Squid or cuttlefish, either way, the final risotto remains just as delicious as long as fresh seafood and high quality stock were used.

Squid ink risotto with seared cuttlefish -

Ingredients (for 2 to 3 portions)?

  • 1 small cuttlefish or squid
  • 1 small can calamari in ink (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon squid ink (nero di seppia)
  • 1 1/2 cups Acquerello or Arborio rice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups lobster or shrimp stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 teaspoon sea salt
  • Some olive oil
  • Some cayenne pepper 
  • Some finely chopped parsley


I used extra canned calamari just to make it a more luscious dish, you can simply skip this ingredient and cook up one large cuttlefish or squid instead.

Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Peel and finely chop the shallots. Remove the beak, cuttlebone, and eyes from the cuttlefish, rinse clean then pat dry for later use. 

Warm up the stock using a pot, bring to lukewarm temperature but not to a boil.

Drizzle some olive oil to a non-stick pot and turn to high heat. Wait till the temperature rises a little then add in the whole cleaned cuttlefish. Sear both sides till slightly browned then remove from heat. Slice the cuttlefish and set aside for later use .

In the same pot, lower to medium heat, add in the butter and more olive oil if needed. Add in chopped garlic and shallots once the butter has been melted. Sprinkle some salt and stir a little. 

It's always better to use less salt in the beginning if unsure about the how salty the dish will turn out. As for this risotto recipe, he canned calamari and the stock might contain some salt so might be safer to go easy on the salt initially. If the flavors are too light, you can always add more seasonings towards the end. 

Pour in the rice and stir till every grain has been coated with oil. Pour in about 1/3 of the stock to slowly cook the rice. Add more stock when the grains have almost absorbed all the liquid. Taste the rice to check on the texture, al dente preferably. 

When the grains are almost ready, add the canned calamari along with some squid ink and mix well.

If skipping the canned version, you can add about 1/3 or side pieces of the large seared calamari to the rice instead.

Final check on the texture and flavors, adjust with more stock and salt if needed. Scoop some darkened rice to the plate and top with seared cuttlefish. Sprinkle some cayenne pepper and finely chopped parsley before serving. 

Lobster or shrimp stock can be hard to find at times. I made my own stock last time for another risotto variation and here's the shrimp stock recipe. You can always make more stock and store then in batches in the freezer, these types of ingredients always come in handy.

Blackened jewels.

Other risotto recipes:

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