Black cuttlefish risotto

Venezia crestRisotto nero con le seppie. From Venice. This is quite a spectacular dish, but probably not to everyone’s taste. If you can’t find cuttlefish you can use squid. The tricky part is removing the ink sac when you clean them. I have to admit that I chickened out and bought a preprepared sachet. 50c well spent in my opinion. The recipe called for fish stock, but I used water as the cuttlefish has quite a strong flavour and I don’t think you’d be able to taste the difference.

Black cuttlefish risotto ingredients

Black cuttlefish risotto ingredients

Serves 4.

  • 1kg cuttlefish, cleaned and the ink sacs reserved
  • 1 litre fish stock or water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 175ml dry white wine mixed with 150ml water
  • 350g risotto rice
  • 25g butter
  • salt and pepper

  1. Cut the cuttlefish into strips or dice.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over a low heat for a few minutes, stirring from time to time.
  3. Add the cuttlefish and season with salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt as cuttlefish can be quite salty. Cook until the pieces have turned white.
  4. Add the wine and water, cover and simmer over alow heat until tender. Timing depends on the size of the strips, but it’l probably be around 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the rice and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  6. Add a ladle of hot stock (or water) and continue according to the standard risotto method.
  7. When the risotto is ready stir in the butter and serve.

Black risotto

Black risotto

Brindisi fish soup

Brindisi crestZuppa di pesce alla Brindisina. A couple of weeks ago I got together with a couple of friends in order to cook a fish ‘soup’ . Soup is a bit of a misnomer, as there isn’t really that much liquid involved. It was an all day project involving a trip to the fish market in the morning, lots of preparation in the afternoon (why are mussels so time consuming to clean? I’d happily eat them every day if I didn’t have to spend an age scraping and pulling off various unsavoury parts ūüôā ) and cooking and eating in the evening. I glad to say it was worth the effort. Serves 4

Fish soup ingredients

Fish soup ingredients

  • 600g scorpion fish (or any other firm white fish – we used hake), cleaned and definned.
  • 350g squid, cleaned and cut into pieces.
  • 150g cuttlefish, cleaned and cut into pieces.
  • 300g mussels, cleaned and debearded.
  • 200g clams, scrubbed
  • 300g tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped.
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped.
  • 1 onion, finely chopped.
  • 1 sprig parsley, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped.
  • 1/2 glass olive oil
  • 4 slices stale bread
  1. Soften the onion and celery in a large pan. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until the start to break down and form a sauce.
  2. Add the squid and cuttlefish and cook until they start to become tender – 10-20 minutes.
  3. Add the mussels, clams and chilli, stir and then lay the fish on top. Cover and cook over a low heat until the fish sarts to flake (check from time to time with a fork).
  4. To serve, place a slice of bread in the bottom of a bowl, sprinkle on a little garlic and parsley and spoon the soup on top.
fish soup finished dish

fish soup finished dish

Linguine with cuttlefish ragu

Linguine al ragu di seppia. Serves 6

Cuttlefish ragu ingredients

Cuttlefish ragu ingredients

  • 6¬†medium¬†cuttlefish, cleaned, whole
  • 100g¬† onion,sliced
  • olive oil
  • parsley, chopped
  • 1kg¬†chopped tomato (fresh or tinned)
  • 600g¬†linguine
  • 100g¬†pecorino pugliese, grated
  1. Fry the onions in plenty of olive oil for a few minutes. Add the cuttlefish and fry on all sides.
  2. Add the tomatoes and cook over a low heat for around 3/4 hour.
  3. When the cuttlefish are tender, remove from the sauce and keep warm.
  4. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. It probably wont need much salt as the cuttlefish can be quite salty.
  5. Dress the cooked pasta with the sauce. Serve sprinkled with the pecorino and parsley. Top each portion with one of the cuttlefish.

linguine with cuttlefish ragu finished dish

Note: If the cuttlefish are quite large, you may prefer to serve them as the second course.

Stuffed cuttlefish

This would go just as well with squid. Be careful when removing the cuttlefish ‘bone’ as it’s¬†important to leave the body sack whole. Don’t worry about skinning them as the skin will burn off on the grill.¬†¬†Serves 4

stuffed cuttlefish ingredients

  8       medium  cuttlefish
¬† 150¬†¬† grams¬† pecorino Romano — grated
  150   grams  bread crumbs
  1        medium  egg
¬† 2¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†cloves¬† garlic — finely chopped
¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†sprig¬† parsley — finely chopped
¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†tablespoon¬† capers — finely chopped
¬† 4¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†fillets¬† anchovies — finely chopped
            olive oil
            salt and pepper

  • Clean the cuttlefish, keeping the body whole. Finely chop the tentacles.
  • Mix together in a bowl, the tentacles, bread crumbs,egg, garlic, parsley,
    capers, anchovies, pepper and a good slug of olive oil.
  • Carefully stuff the bodies with the mixture.
  • Brush with olive oil, season with salt and grill for about 20 minutes

grilled cuttlefish finished dish

Grilled cuttlefish

I was reminded of this recipe by a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in last¬†Thursday’s International Guardian.

I used my own homemade chilli oil. To make it add some dried chillis to a bottle of olive oil and leave it for a couple of weeks. If you can’t wait for 2 weeks, use fresh chilli or chilli flakes.

If you want to know how to butterfly squid or cuttlefish, check out Hugh’s article here.¬†Or watch this video

Serves 4

grilled cuttlefish ingredients

  • ¬† 2 ¬†medium cuttlefish (or squid) — cleaned and butterflied
  • ¬† chilli oil
  • ¬† 1 large clove garlic — finely chopped
  • ¬† salt and pepper
  1. Chop off the tentacles and butterfly the cuttlefish
  2. Divide each set of tentacles into 2
  3. Season the cuttlefish with the garlic, salt and pepper and a good slug of chilli oil
  4. Heat a grill pan to the hottest temperature you can manage
  5. Grill cut side up for about 2 minutes
  6. Turn and grill for a further 2 minutes
  7. Turn once more and grill for a final minute
  8. Serve with a salad on the side
Grilled cuttlefish finished dish

Grilled cuttlefish finished dish