Black Risotto (Crni rizot) – Croatian seafood and rice dish gets its peculiar color from squid ink!
I know, it looks strange. Black colored food is very rare in nature. That’s why people are sceptical when they see Black Risotto for the first time. It is popular Croatian seafood dish made with addition of squid ink. More and more tourists are ordering this food all along Adriatic coast – from Istria to Dalmatia and Dubrovnik.
My father used to make this delicacy often when we had guests, but I preferred it uncolored. Since the squid ink does not change the taste much (it tastes like seafood), you can omit it and eat the risotto without it – it is just as tasty.
Squid, calamari or cuttlefish can all be used to make this dish. Because squid and cuttlefish are tougher, they need to be cooked longer. Calamari are quite soft and they are cooked in just a few minutes.
As always when making risotto, there are few helpful tips to follow:
TIP #1: Use a short-grain white rice most suitable for risotto. My favorite is Arborio, but there are also lot of other varieties on the market. They are high in starch and will give special creaminess to your dish. You will not get good results with long grained rice.
TIP #2: Add hot liquid gradually. If you dump all liquid to the pot at once, you will get just boiled rice. Therefore it is best to add stock or water ladle by ladle. Cook, stirring, until liquid is absorbed. Then add another ladle of liquid and so on, until rice is cooked al dente.
TIP #3 (optional): A knob of butter at the end will make your risotto especially creamy and smooth.
I hope some of you will be brave enough to try making Black Risotto for the first time in your own kitchen. If not, just skip the ink and enjoy!
- 1 kg (2 lb) squid or calamari or cuttlefish
- 2-3 large onions, chopped
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) white wine
- 400 g (0.9 lb; about 2 cups) risotto rice (like Arborio)
- 4 g (about 1 tsp) squid ink, or to taste
- 2 cups fish stock or vegetable stock or hot water
- salt, black pepper
- a knob of butter
Black Risotto cooking directions: Clean the squid or calamari (reserve ink sac). Cut them into stripes.
Saute onion in the oil until translucent. Add the squid or calamari and cook for 15 minutes. Add garlic, parsley, salt (be careful with the salt because stock is salty), wine, pepper and enough water to cover calamari and cook until squid or calamari are soft (squid will take longer time to cook then calamari).
Add the rice, the ink from the ink sac and continue cooking on low to medium heat. Add hot stock, ladle by ladle, stirring until absorbed. Adjust seasonings.
Remove Black Risotto from heat when rice is cooked al dente. Stir in a knob of butter. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.