Risotto nero - step-by-step instructions

There is something dangerous and sexy about black food. It is the colour of night, of the dark side, of the forbidden and of sin. Black truffles, dark chocolate, ink risotto – each is a step to somewhere you oughtn’t, but really want, to go.

Why we think of squid ink, I don’t know – the mollusc used in this dish is cuttlefish, and the ink used is cuttlefish ink. Cuttlefish (seppia) is where we get the ink from, and derive the word for ink colour (‘sepia’). The flavour of cuttlefish braised in its ink is rich and deeply marine – like bottarga, and sea urchin, something afficionados of seafood might come to actual blows for.

I first had this dish at Harry’s Bar, which was fitting: this recipe is a defining venetian classic. The addition of gremolata is my own, perhaps a heresy, but I find it makes the colour and flavour really pop.

You will need:

1 saucepan, frying pan or wide casserole

1 wooden spoon

Some water

Warmed plates to serve on

Your pack serves 2 as a main and contains:

[1] cuttlefish stewed in its ink

[2] parcooked vialone nano rice

[3a] butter & extra virgin olive oil from La Bandiera

[3b] gremolata (finely chopped parsley, lemon zest & garlic)


The dish will take about 10-12 minutes to cook

  • Pack 1: put 200ml of water in your pan, and the cuttlefish stew from pack 1, and bring the lot to a boil.
  • Pack 2: add pack 2 (rice) to the stew, stir to incorporate and bring it to a simmer. Season a little (you can add more salt later). Cook for 6-8 minutes over a medium heat (boiling but not crazily), stirring most of the time, until velvety and starting to thicken
  • Pack 3a: When the rice is cooked to your liking, add pack 3a (butter & oil), and cook, still stirring, until luscious
  • As you contemplate serving, taste again for seasoning – there isn’t much to a risotto, and salt must be spot on. The same goes for texture – it should be pourable, but gloopy. If too runny increase the heat to thicken, if too viscous (or, horror of horrors, solid-ish) add water until when served it can be shaken level on the plate
  • Serve on warmed plates. Shake them to level the risotto.
  • Sprinkle with the gremolata (we provide a bit more than you need – just give a light scattering).

ENJOY! This is a defining dish of the Veneto. Whilst it is robust and could go with any more structured or complex white, I will always open a more senior Soave to drink with it, given half a chance.

ALLERGENS: all packs prepared in a mixed kitchen, we cannot guarantee the absence of any allergen. All packs of this dish contain dairy, alliums & SO2