Friday, July 20, 2007

Risotto Nero Colle Seppie

I don't remember when I started taking squid ink seriously. Squids are quite popular in our Chinese cooking culture. Deep-fry with salt and pepper, stir-fry with black beans and chillies, steam with garlic and ginger, etc, etc. But no one would ever think of cooking and eating their ink. It is something considered dirty and hideous in our culture.

I know it's an idea from the Europeans but still don't know exactly who started turning squid ink into a cooking ingredient. I suppose it was the Spaniards or the Italians. I have also heard, in Venice, this squid ink risotto is one of their hallmark dishes.

I was deeply attracted by the blackness of this "gravelly tar" and, given my madness about pasta and risotto, I decided to give it a play in my kitchen. My recipe is somewhat different from the traditional one, keeping it simple and easy. And all ingredients can be found in this part of the world.

1. 1/2 kg of whole fresh squids or cuttlefishs;
2. 1 garlic clove, finely chopped;
3. 2 cups of Japanese short-grain sushi rice, leaving it dry;
4. 1/2 litre of boiling fish or chicken broth;
5. a crown of white Shimeji mushrooms;
6. 1 cube of Parmigiano Reggiano, grated; and
7. a handful of basil, finely chopped.

Get those baby squids if you can. They are the best. Clean the squids by removing eyes, beak and transparent quill. Remove and reserve the ink sac. It can break easily. So be extra gentle with it.

You may peel off the skin too, but I'll just leave it if the squids are fresh enough. Cut them into strips or cubes. Rinse the mushrooms and chop them also into small cubes.

Heat up a small cooking pot with extra virgin olive oil. Toss rice and garlic into the pot (I don't put garlic first to prevent the bitterness from developing). Cook over moderate heat until golden, stirring from time to time. Turn up the heat a little and toss squids and mushrooms into the rice. Keep stirring. This part should take about 15 mins.

Add in a ladleful of boiling broth and the ink. Add sea-salt and fresh ground pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes. Stirring constantly and add spoonfuls of broth from time to time.

Finally, stir in the cheese, remove from heat and let rice rest for a minute or two, covered.

Stir once more with pepper and garnish with generous amount of basil. Best serve with a bowl of salad and a glass of fruity red. This risotto is so rich in aromas and succulence. Nevertheless, your teeth and tongue will too be tainted black, not an ideal choice of dinner if you're making it on a date!

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18 Comments:

Anonymous karen said...

just curious. it's appetizer, entrée or dessert?
:P

3:13 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...

Hi Karen, it doesn't fall into any of them :P

12:06 PM GMT+8  
Blogger GM5 said...

It's fusion, I guess. Italian sushi or Japanese risotto, with squid-ink. :p

4:16 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...

Haha, can you see what ingredients in there other than rice?

11:14 AM GMT+8  
Blogger GM5 said...

Passion, patience and love. Nothing more nothing less (i.e. 冇餸!) :p

7:44 PM GMT+8  
Blogger liliane said...

I saw squid/calamari/octopus/八達通

9:41 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...

There's always more than meet the eye!

4:02 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous kl said...

eeh.... I am still curious:
1) Is this edible?
2) how long would the "later" be?
:P
karen

12:59 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...

1) it is edible and digestable.
2) patience will be rewarded.

12:58 AM GMT+8  
Blogger GM5 said...

係咪由生米煑成熟飯o架? 咁點控制水嘅份量?不如襯未洗牙前,整餐俾我哋試下!

12:21 AM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...

Yes, u need to get that "al dente" quality of the risotto. That means u have to stir it slowly in a moderate heat and add broth when it gets dry.

4:17 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous eliza said...

sensuous! :P

btw, i've always like your song choices here...too bad they're hard to find in my library :D

5:39 AM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...

Thank you, Eliza! Come here more often and please insert a coin at your right-hand corner :P

I wish I had a bite of your creamy-white BD cake :D

5:40 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Rasa Malaysia said...

I have never tried this, but doesn't the squik ink leave a fishy weird taste in the risotto?

12:36 AM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...

True. That's why we need fresh squids or else the taste will get very fishy. Fresh ink should give us a pleasant chocolate/blackbean-like aroma.

Love your blog, rasa!

7:53 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous 林嘉綸 said...

喂!老友!係咪番新工唔駛煮飯‥‥‥
嘻嘻!

10:28 AM GMT+8  
Blogger GM5 said...

林嘉綸,

係咪番新工好得閒?? :P

8:42 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...

唔好講煮飯, 食飯都唔得閒...

楠媽, 妳哥边又如何啊?

10:18 PM GMT+8  

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