I’d been wanting to try this for a while. The idea of jet black risotto is immediately both disgusting and intriguing, and since I’ve never actually been to a restaurant that serves it, I figured I’d have to make it myself. Every time you cook whole squid you have the chance to use the ink. It’s stored in the ink sacks below their eyes, and in a pouch on their…I suppose bellies is what I’d call it. It being summer, I decided to try this with the delicious fava bean. Whenever I am trying a new dish, I head to ye’ ol’ interwebs to get an idea of what to do. It’s a good starting point to get a general sense of how something is made, and lets you pick and choose what you think sounds good. You can usually find 30 or so recipes on any given dish. I found there is a good amount of discussion on how to make this dish. Cook the squid for 30 minutes with the rice (sounds like you’re asking for rubbery seafood there), put the ink into the broth, use fish broth, chicken broth, etc.. I decided on the following : Chicken stock (because that’s what I had), and short cooked squid.
1 Cup arborio rice
4 Cup chicken stock
1/2 C white wine
1 Tbsp. squid ink (harvested from whole squid)
3 shallots-minced 3 cloves garlic – minced
3/4lb whole Monterrey bay squid 1/2 lb favas
1.Cleaning: I actually enjoy cleaning squid, something so satisfying about it. It’s so easy and quick, and the end result feel so clean. I won’t go into the specifics, but here’s a good video, with a great song:
2. De-ink Now comes the fun part. You’ll need a paring knife and a small bowl. The ink from the squid lives in two places, behind the eyes, and in a small sac that runs the length of its intestines. Take your knife and pluck right behind the eyes, ink should flow (not a ton mind you, it takes a lot of these to make a Tbsp). The sac (which I had less luck getting ink out of), should be carefully removed from the intestines, and put in the bowl.
3. Next you’ll want to make the risotto. Put your stock in a pot to boil, with the squid ink you’ve labored so hard to extract whisked in, then reduce to a simmer. Sweat the onions and garlic in butter for 3 minutes (don’t let them brown). Add your Arborio, and mix so each grain is coated in oil. I like to cook this mixture for about a minute over medium heat, to let the flavors infuse. Next add your wine and stock. About 2 cups at first, then 1 Cup at a time, as the liquid is absorbed, stirring often. The reason for adding the stock this way is that it helps the liquid absorb, but keeps the firm texture of the rice. Risotto needs almost constant attention, and the moment you walk away it will burn, so be careful. This should take about 35 minutes. When you’re putting in the last bit of stock, add the reserved squid.
4. While this is going on, cook the favas. I blanched them for about 3 minutes, then shocked them. (that is, boiled for 3 minutes in salted water, then put in a salted ice water bath). Shelled them, then sauteed with garlic. Simple and delicious.
Done! Theoretically, your risotto should be black now, with the favas giving a nice counterpoint in color. Unfortunately (like I said, this was my first attempt), mine wasn’t. I think I needed more ink. Also, I think that fish stock would give a much nicer flavor. Tasted good of course, but could have been better. I also think that favas are not the right choice for this dish. Mushy on mushy doesn’t work too well. I’m thinking asparagus. Same summer flavor, but with more crunch. Onto the next experiment…