Venetian classic, Risotto al Nero Di Seppia is a traditional dish popular not only across Italy but around the globe. It’s a real treat that never fails to impress seafood lovers! Our easy Squid Ink Risotto version uses frozen cooked seafood mix instead of the whole squid and is easy enough to put together for an evening meal! The dish will wow both with its striking jet-black appearance and the lovely flavours of the sea!
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Why Risotto Makes a Great Dinner?
Here, at Somebody Feed Seb, Risotto is one of the most frequently cooked dishes! We love the creaminess of risottos, the comforting element that it provides and the fact that it’s a one-pan meal. But most of all, we love the fact that it is a blank canvas to add flavours to. Whatever you have left in the fridge, I promise you can make a risotto with it, as long as you have the right kind of rice.
Frozen Seafood Mix Will Do Just Fine
Today we are sharing our simple, yet impressive seafood risotto that’s coloured (and flavoured) with squid ink. I know many people are not very confident when it comes to cooking seafood. And that’s why we used frozen cooked seafood mix in this recipe. All you need to do with it is defrost it and cook just enough to warm through. There’s no way you can go wrong and the result will be impressive! Of course, if you are a confident cook, feel free to use whole calamari, clams, langoustine or any other seafood. You can de-shell them first and even make your own stock.
But here we share our no-fuss version that will be (almost) just as good as Risotto al Nero made completely from scratch.
Ingredients and Substitutes
- frozen cooked seafood mix: defrosted. Feel free to use fresh seafood.
- risotto rice: Risotto rice needs to be short, starchy and able to withstand long cooking process. Some of the widely available varieties are Arborio and Carnaroli rice (and out of the two, we prefer Carnaroli). Both types of rice are perfect for slow long cooking, letting the rice infuse with all the flavours of stock without losing their shape.
- stock: vegetable or fish stock will work best in this black risotto.
- squid (cuttlefish) ink: you can typically get a tub of squid ink or small squid ink sacks (4g each). This is what gives this black risotto its colour.
- olive oil: or other oil, like sunflower, vegetable or rapeseed. We do not recommend using extra virgin olive oil for cooking on high heat.
- garlic cloves.
- onion: we used a brown onion, but red onion or shallots will work very well here.
- bay leaf.
- white wine: we like to use dry crisp white wine in our risottos. If you don’t have any white hand, add a couple of tablespoons on lemon juice to the toasted rice alongside the first ladleful of stock.
- frozen peas: defrosted. Fresh green peas will work too.
- fresh herbs: chopped parsley and tarragon.
- butter: salted or unsalted, it’s up to you!
- Parmesan cheese: is optional, as many people do not like cheese with seafood, but we love it!
- You will also need some seasoning, like sea salt and black pepper.
Make and keep fish (or vegetable) stock in a large saucepan on the lowest heat.
In a large frying pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaf and cook on low heat for 10 minutes until the onions are soft but not browned.
Add the rice to the pan and mix with the onions. Then cook for 1-2 minutes on medium heat until the rice starts to crackle and turn translucent.
Add the white wine and cook until it reduces by half. Add a ladleful of stock and squid ink and stir with a wooden spoon. Make sure the rice has fully absorbed the stock before adding another ladle. Continue adding stock until the rice is tender and cooked through.
In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in another frying on high heat. Add your seafood and peas and cook for 2-3 minutes until warmed through.
When rice is cooked, mix in more squid ink if needed to achieve the right colour. Take your black risotto off the heat, then add the seafood, peas and chopped fresh herbs.
Finally, stir in grated Parmesan and season. Divide the Risotto Al Nero Di Seppia between bowls and enjoy!
Risotto Nero can be served as a main course or as an appetiser.
Tips: How To Make A Good Risotto?
We think there are FOUR main secrets to the best creamiest risotto. And the secrets lie with the rice and the stock!
- Rice for Risotto: Risotto rice needs to be short, starchy and able to withstand long cooking time. Some of the widely available varieties are Arborio and Carnaroli rice (and out of the two, we prefer Carnaroli). Both types of rice are perfect for slow long cooking, letting the rice infuse with all the flavours of stock without losing their shape.
- Toast the Rice: toasting the rice in a pan before adding any stock is an important step in any risotto preparation. The process seals the surface of the rice, helping it preserve its shape and retain the typical al dente texture.
- Keep the Stock Hot: Put your stock in a pan and keep it on low heat. This ensures an even cooking temperature. If your stock cools down, it will prolong the cooking time and your rice may become soggy in the process.
- Add Stock Little By Little: Not adding all the stock at the same time allows the rice to release its starch at a slow rate, making the risotto creamy. Another advantage of adding the stock gradually is being able to control how much of the stock is actually needed before the rice is cooked.
Squid ink has a distinct oceanic, briny flavour with a slightly bitter aftertaste, but the flavour can vary depending on the quality and freshness of the ink and the type of squid it comes from. In culinary applications, squid ink is often used to add a rich umami flavour and a dark colour to dishes such as pasta, risotto, and seafood stews.
What To Serve With Squid Ink Risotto?
Squid ink risotto is a delicious and elegant dish that pairs well with a variety of flavours. Here are some options for serving with squid ink risotto:
- Grilled or roasted vegetables: Asparagus, courgette, eggplant, or bell peppers are all great options for a side dish. Grilling or roasting them can add a smoky flavour that complements the savoury squid ink risotto.
- Green salad: A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette can provide a refreshing contrast to the rich and creamy risotto. We love Courgette Ribon Salad.
- Braised fennel: The subtle liquorice flavour of braised fennel can complement the savoury squid ink and provide a unique flavour profile.
Other Risotto Recipes To Try
If you have some squid ink left, make our delicious Squid Ink Pasta with Seafood next. You won’t regret it! For other risotto recipes, have a look at:
- Spinach and Mushroom Risotto with Pecan & Garlic Drizzle
- Smoked Salmon Risotto
- Sweet Chilli Pepper Risotto
- Blue Cheese Risotto with Sweet Potatoes & Walnuts
Black Squid Ink Risotto (Risotto Al Nero Di Seppia)
- 200 g frozen cooked seafood mix defrosted
- 160 g of risotto rice
- 700 ml fish stock
- 8 g squid (cuttlefish) ink two sachets
- 2 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
- 1 onion peeled and finely diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 75 ml dry white wine
- 50 g frozen peas defrosted
- 5 g parsley chopped
- 5 g tarragon finely chopped
- 20 g butter
- 20 g Parmesan grated
- Make and keep fish stock in a pan on the lowest heat.
- In a large frying pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaf and cook on low heat for 10 minutes until the onions are soft but not browned.
- Add the rice to the pan and mix with the onions. Then cook for 1-2 minutes until the rice starts to crackle and turn translucent.
- Add the white wine and cook until it reduces by half. Add a ladleful of stock and half of the squid ink (1 sachet) and stir. Make sure the rice has fully absorbed the stock before adding another ladle. Continue adding stock until the rice is tender and cooked through.
- In the meantime, heat 1 tbs of olive oil in another frying on medium-high heat. Add your seafood and peas and cook for 2-3 minutes until warmed through.
- When rice is cooked, mix in more squid ink (we used another sachet) if needed to achieve the right colour. Take off the heat, stir in grated Parmesan and season.
- Finally, add the seafood, peas and chopped herbs. Divide the risotto between bowls and enojy!