Black Risotto Top Dalmatia Fish Meal

Black Risotto
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Black Risotto (Crni rižot) is the dish you really have to try and which will astonish you right away. The great thing is that it can be found in almost every restaurant.

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It may look repellent at first because of its black color. You should bear in mind that your teeth could turn black after trying this delicacy.

I guarantee that once you start eating it, you won’t stop so quickly. Its black color derives from cuttlefish and squid ink, which gives the risotto a beautiful black color and a specific slightly bitter taste. 

INK – Squid and cuttlefish ink is a pigment that they release when they are in danger. Black ink colors the sea and allows them an easier escape from predators. It is located in a small bag next to the internal organs. 

Black risotto may be served on its own or it may accompany grilled fish. It is rarely the main course. This meal is a special and unique representative of Dalmatian cooking.

Black Risotto Recipe

If you are looking for a recipe to impress seafood-loving guests, this is one to try. Before I begin, let's see which kind of fish is necessary to prepare ‘crni rižot'.

Two kinds are essential, cuttlefish and squid. Both are all cephalopod mollusks. It is advisable to add shellfish, mussels, or fingerlings that will add additional flavor to risotto.

Black risotto fish

How to clean cuttlefish and squid for black risotto

How to clean the cuttlefish?

Wash the cuttlefish under running water. Pat dry and then cut through the back of the cuttlefish using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife.

Remove the insides, carefully separating the small ink sac and setting it aside. Discard the rest of the innards, also removing the hard white bone from the back. The ink sac is the crucial part of black risotto. In case you lose it, you can always order it here separately!

Next, cut the tentacles from the body and set them aside! Nota Bene: cuttlefish has a higher amount of ink for black risotto!

How to clean the squid?

Gently pull the body and head apart. Clean the stomach of all of the entrails, and carefully remove the small ink sac, and set it aside for later use.

Remove and throw away the transparent quill from the body sac. Wash the inside of the squid thoroughly under cold running water. Cut off the tentacles and set them aside.

Squid cutting
  1. Whole and unpeeled squid.
  2. A squid with which we cut off a garland with tentacles.
  3. Corolla with tentacles and central tooth.
  4. Corolla without a central tooth.
  5. Squid tooth.
  6. Squid body with peeled skin.
  7. Internal organs of the squid with a bag of ink and transparent bone.
  8. Cleaned squid body

Ingredients for black risotto

  • 2 pounds fresh cuttlefish (also known as sepia, about 3 medium-sized).
  • 1 pound fresh squid (about 2 medium-sized).
  • 1/3 cup olive oil.
  • 1 large onion, minced.
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced.
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley.
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine.
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar.
  • 1 cup arborio rice (short-grained Italian rice).
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (for rice).
  • Lemon slices for garnish.
  • Parsley for garnish.


Heat a large, deep pan with olive oil over medium heat. Fry the onion and when soft, add all of the cuttlefish and squid (including tentacles). Cook until soft and golden, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add garlic and parsley, stirring to unite. Pour in the wine, vinegar and then mix in the ink paste. Cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Wash the rice, and then add it to the pan along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir to coat the rice in oil for about 1 to 2 minutes. Then add enough hot water to cover the rice completely and cook uncovered until the rice al dente, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add black cuttlefish or squid ink dissolved in 100ml of water, in the middle of cooking. The ink will collect in the oily puddles on top of the risotto, and only towards the end, your risotto will take the intense black color.

If the rice dries out, add another 1/2 cup of hot water (reduce the additions of water to 1/4 cup after 20 minutes) and then stir without stopping.

Remember to stir well and always loosen the rice from the bottom of the pot so that it doesn't stick!

Remove from heat when done and place on serving platter. Garnish black risotto by surrounding with sliced lemons and sprinkling additional parsley if so desired.

Add Parmigianino Reggiano before eating and lemon juice if you like.

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