Cuttlefish Ink Risotto (Risotto al Nero)
This jet-black Italian risotto al nero gets its color from cuttlefish ink.
Yield: serves 4-6
Time: 55 minutes
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 3⁄4 lb. squid or cuttlefish, cleaned, bodies finely chopped, tentacles left whole
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, minced (1 1/4 cups)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small carrot, peeled and minced (1/4 cup)
- 1 small celery stalk, minced (1/4 cup)
- 1 lb. arborio rice (1 1/4 cups)
- 1⁄4 cup dry white wine
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. cuttlefish ink, or more as desired
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1⁄4 cup freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
- Bottarga, for garnish (optional)
- In a medium pot, bring the stock and 4 cups water to a simmer. Add the squid tentacles and cook until just opaque, 1 minute. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Keep the stock mixture hot.
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and season with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and some black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add the chopped squid bodies and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque and the edges have curled up slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and season with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Add the white wine and cook, stirring, until mostly evaporated, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the cuttlefish ink, then quickly ladle in 1 cup of the stock mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is almost absorbed, 2-3 minutes. Repeat 7 more times, or until all of the liquid has been added and the rice is tender and moistened but not soupy. Stir in the butter and cheese and turn off the heat. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed, or add up to 1 teaspoon more cuttlefish ink to reach the desired concentration of color.
- Distribute the risotto among individual bowls, then top with the reserved tentacles. Garnish generously with more Parmigiano and bottarga to taste if using.