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Black squid risotto can be found in many restaurants in Italy but not often anywhere else in the world. I suppose it is because it isn’t easy to find sepia ink. It is a powerful dye made from the ink of the cuttlefish. Where to buy it is the question. You can try to collect the ink bag when cleaning the squid, but this is difficult. It is often sold in small packets or bottles in some Italian specialty stores. You can ask your fish monger if he can order it for you. I buy it in small bottles at the fish section of the market in Switzerland or in Italy and store it in my refrigerator. I often make black tagliatelle and risotto and it always makes a big impression with guests. The ink is mild and doesn’t have a strong fishy flavor. It’s beautiful black silky color is impressive and best of all it is delicious mixed with shell fish of squid as I have here in this recipe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings as a side dish, 2 servings as a main course
1 cup Arborio rice
5 cups chicken broth or vegetable or fish stock broth
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (light flavor)
1 small white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup good white wine
2 tablespoons seppia ink
Salt as needed
Heat the stock and seppia ink in a pan and leave it on low temperature to keep it warm.
Sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil in a sauce pan. When they are translucent, add the rice and allow the rice to become opaque in color stirring it for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add the wine enough to cover the rice and stir. Cover the rice with broth until the rice has absorbed the liquid and then add more doing the same thing until the rice is al dente.
The cooking should be about 20 minutes. Remove the risotto from the stove and stir in the butter until it has melted into the rice. This will create a nice creamy risotto. Add salt to taste.
Note: If you wish you can add some squid rings or chopped the tentacles at the very end and cook only a few minutes. Squid cooks very fast and it will be nice and tender with just a few minutes cooking time.
Remove the tentacles, sac, beak, eyes and spine and wash any sand off the squid. Using a kitchen scissors cut the squid lengthwise. You can either cut it in quarters or in half lengthwise. Make small incisions in both directions with a very sharp knife on the inside flesh of the squid.
This will help to keep the squid flat instead of curling up.
Place them on long wet skewers.
Place them on a very hot grill a few minutes on each side. You will see when they start to brown. Squid can become very rubbery so the timing is critical. Salt them immediately.
It is quite amazing how people swam around vendor stands in the markets in Italy when funghi porcini are in season. The king of mushrooms are as impressive as they are delicious. They are tossed with pasta, cooked in risotto, are simply delicious grilled with herbs – a meal in itself, served fresh as a salad, sautéd with olive oil and herbs or baked, they can be marinated in olive oil or topping on pizza.
When selecting porcini the gills should not be yellowish-brown, which means that the mushrooms are becoming over-ripe. Do not buy them if they have dark under-caps or black spots and also check for holes in the stems where there might be worms. The short round stems should be firm and white. They have a rich woodsy rustic flavor and are simply beautiful to look at.
Brush off any dirt you may find and wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Store them in a paper bag, not in a plastic bag or wrapped in plastic wrap. You do not want mosture to form on them. Prepare them as soon as possible when fresh or they will dry out.
Porcini mushrooms are also dried, found year round in supermarkets and must be hyddrated and have a more intense flavor when cooked. When making risotto or pasta sauce you can also use the hyddrating liquid in the sauce adding a deep concentrated flavor.
Porcini can be found in North America, Europe, and Asia. Fresh Porcini are not as popular in the US as they are in Italy where they are almost over harvested and the collection is regulated. Taking pictures of Porcini is a passion as they are such a beautiful mushroom.
Risotto Funghi Porcini
Risotto With Porcini Mushrooms
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings as first dish 2 servings as main course
1 cup Arborio rice
5 cups broth (homemade or store bought, vegetable, chicken)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 lb. fresh Porcini mushrooms, cut into bite size pieces
1 medium chopped onion
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of chopped garlic
1/2 cup white wine
Freshly ground pepper
Put the butter and oil in a saucepan and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the rice and allow it to cook until it becomes opaque. Pour in the wine so that it just covers the rice. Stir and allow the rice to absorb the wine on medium heat. Heat the broth and begin to add it in by just keeping the rice covered with liquid. As soon as the rice absorbs the liquid, add a little more. Stir constantly, continue this process until the rice is almost done (has a bite). Add the mushrooms and allow them to cook in the rice for another 2-3 minutes. The entire cooking process takes about 20 minutes. Remove the rice from the stove and add the grated cheese, stir and add a little freshly ground pepper. Stir in the cold butter.
Note: Risotto cannot be leftover. It must be served immediately as the rice will absorb all the remaining liquid and it will be uneatable.
Note: You can substitute fresh Porcini with about 2 oz. dried Porcini mushrooms, which can be found in the most markets. Soak them in tepid water for 30 minutes before using them. Add some of the hydrating liquid to the risotto giving it a more intense flavor.