This traditional Dalmatian recipe have travelled from Split, across the Cayman Islands, Norway, Abu Dhabi and came back home in an upgraded and enriched version.
The very best black risotto I’ve ever tried was at my friends’ Vesna and Peter’s house, long time ago. in Split. As the children were still very young at the time and didn’t enjoy the dish at all, I used to never prepare it.
In the meantime I tried lots of variations on the recipe both at my friends’ places as in the restaurants, but still – that one in Vesna’s house remained my personal favorite.
My friend Vesna in the meantime moved to the Cayman Island (where her black risotto got its new fans), then to Norway (it blow away Norwegians as well) and at last to Arabian peninsula where the Risotto again conquers with its specific flavor…
Shout out to our old Dalmatian recipe and to Vesna and Peter! Their risotto is always rich in flavor and made with lots of love and dedication.
Black risotto travelled through history as well.
There is always a question about where it was prepared the very first time. In Dalmatia? Venice? Valencia? Catalonia?
Dalmatia was for 400 years under the dominion of the Republic of Venice and during that period the special bond between two cuisines was formed, influencing and adding to each other in all the possible ways.
The Mediterranean sea, which connects these three countries, is the natural squid’s habitat. In ancient times, people used to travel a lot across the sea, sell their products and taste different dishes from nearby countries.
In Dalmatia, black risotto is never out of fashion and is a must-have at all private and business gatherings, parties etc.
It is one of those dishes that you either fall head over knees for or you don’t fancy at all – but one thing is certain – it won’t leave you indifferent.
It is a rich and filling meal, satisfying everyone’s appetite.
In the freshly prepared black risotto you can smell the sea.
Rice is covered in deep black colored sauce that squid releases. Flavor is rich and aromatic and the texture creamy. Onion, garlic and wine enhance the distinctive squid’s flavor.
For the preparation of risotto the most important thing is to buy the fresh squid and not the frozen one.
And then clean it very carefully. If doing it for the first time, take some extra time to do it. It is not as difficult as you may think, but you have to be careful not to destroy the little “bag” that contains the black colored ink. If you are lucky, you can get it done by someone at the fish market, but if not, here’s a little guide:
CLEANING THE SQUID:
1. Turn the squid around so that the bone touches the cupboard
2. Cut with the knife from the top to the bottom, in the direction of the tentacles
3. Using your hands separate the upper part of the squid, without breaking the bag with ink
4. Take out the bag carefully and put it into a little bowl
5. Take out the rest from the insides and throw them away as you won’t need it
6. Take out the bone
7. Cut the tentacles right underneath the eyes, and take out the hard part between them
8. Cut previously washed meat and tentacles in small pieces, approx. 7mm
- 80 dg – 1 kg squid
- 1 big onion
- 2 shallots
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 dry tomatoes with oregano
- 2 fillet of salted anchovies (from Komiža)
- 1 bunch of parsley
- a leaf of dried laurel
- 0,5 dl acetto balsamico or spicy vinegar
- 1,5 + 0,5 dl white wine
- 7 dl stock (shrimps)
- water (if you are out of stock)
- 4 + 3 + 3 spoons of olive oil
- half teaspoon of black pepper
- Arborio rice (approx. 4 dcl)
1. We wash the squid, peel it off, clean it and save aside the bag with the ink.
2. Then we dry the washed meat and tentacles (peel off the skin as well), cut them in the smaller pieces (approx. 7mm).
3. Chop the tomatoes, anchovies, shallots, garlic and parsley.
4. Put the onion, anchovies, tomatoes, half the garlic, half of the parsley and laurel and when it gets yellowish, we add the squid.
We wait until the sauce boils, then pour the vinegar over it and somewhat later add the wine as well.
Add salt, pepper and remaining garlic and parsley, 3 spoons of oil, put the fire down and continue to cook until the squid gets soft.
5. Fry the rice on the 3 spoons of olive oil and cover with 1/2 dcl of wine. When there is no more liquid inside, add the rice to the squid.
6. Add the black ink and stir while slowly adding the stock to the mixture. Cook on the low fire until the rice is cooked “al dente”. If necessary, you can add more boiling water to it, more salt or pepper. Throw away the laurel.
Serve it with lettuce salad and glass of red wine.