Introduction: Squid Ink Risotto With Pan-Fried Squid
Use all parts of the squid, including the ink, to make a classic dish.
Step 1: Saute Onions and Garlic
Finely chop one medium onion and a handful of garlic, and saute in butter or olive oil over medium heat until the onion begins to brown and stick.
Step 2: Deglaze
Add about 1/2 cup of white wine and stir to deglaze the pan. Let it simmer until the wine has cooked off.
Regular cheap stuff is fine, but cooking wine is definitely not- it's full of added salt. I used a bottle of $2 Chuck from Trader Joe's, which works beautifully.
Step 3: Rice
Add one cup of short-grain rice and stir until the rice is coated with oil and warmed through. Letting it get a bit toasty is fine, but don't let the rice burn.
Don't rinse the rice before adding it to the pan- you want that extra starchiness on the outside to make the rice properly sticky.
Step 4: Stock & Simmer
Add a handful of chopped parsley and two cups of stock (homemade, purchased, or boullion cubes + water are all fine), stir, and reduce heat to medium-low to keep the pot at a low simmer.
Stir periodically to prevent sticking, and add more liquid as necessary- I use both stock and wine. This should take close to an hour, so process the squid while the risotto cooks.
Step 5: Clean and Chop Squid
Pull the head/tentacles away from the body, and remove the ink sac as described in this Instructable and place it in a small ceramic bowl with a tablespoon of water.
Scoop any remaining guts out of the body, and remove the thin plasticy quill. Rinse the body inside and out, then slice into approximately 3/4-1 inch thick rings.
Squeeze behind the head to extrude the beak, and remove it from the center of the tentacles. Cut just below the eyes to free the tentacles, then add them to the bowl with the body rings.
Tentacles are the best part. No, really- they're fantastic.
Collect ink from behind the eyes as well if you don't have very many squid and want to increase your ink yield.
Step 6: Season Squid
Drain off excess liquid, then sprinkle the squid parts with a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic, and the herbs or spices of your choice.
Let them sit while you finish the risotto.
Step 7: Finish and Ink Risotto
Taste-test the rice every time you stir, and when i's just cooked through add your squid ink.
You can either strain it into the pot as described above, or simply dump it into the risotto with ink sacs and all. The sacs are perfectly edible, and unnoticeable unless particularly large. I do this because I'm lazy, and if you are squicked by eating squid ink sacs you might want to reconsider this entire project.
Rinse the ink bowl with a bit of water, wine, or stock, and stir the ink into the risotto. The rest of the ink should squish out and color the risotto, turning it a purplish-gray. The flavor quite mild, and will likely disappear behind the stronger flavors in the risotto.
If you want a strong or specific ink color, start by mixing your ink into a small quantity of risotto, then dilute the mixture with more risotto until you're happy with the color. I've done this to exaggerate the inky color effect, as I actually cooked LOTS of risotto, and it would be almost impossible to get this kind of color for the whole pot without scoring a really big squid.
The remaining non-inked risotto can be finished and served separately, or saved for tomorrow's fried risotto cakes. Return your inky risotto to the stove, and cook off the rest of the liquid, and stir in a pat of butter.
Your finished risotto should be quite thick, fragrant, and inky (or not, depending on your taste), with no standing liquid.
Step 8: Pan-fry Squid
Now quickly pan-fry your squid parts in a hot oil-covered pan.
Add just enough to cover the pan, and stir them around quickly with your tongs or slotted spoon.
Squid cook FAST- flip them as soon as the first side turns opaque, about 45-60 seconds, and pull them out of the pan as soon as the other side is done, another 30-45 seconds.
Be careful not to overcook them, as squid can become rubbery after more than a couple of minutes cooking. Alternatively, cook your squid for more than 30 minutes- the meat will soften, and the squid will be tasty again. I'm lazy and prefer the two-minute method, but your mileage may vary.
Flip your freshly-fried squid out onto a paper towel-covered plate to cool and drain.
Step 9: Serve
Serve a bowl of risotto covered with squid, and sprinkled with parsley, fresh ground pepper, and grated parmesan cheese.
Save leftovers to dip in breadcrumbs and fry up as risotto cakes or balls. Hide chopped squid and/or cheese in the middle for bonus points.
Photo credits shared with Jess, who took all of the especially wonderful food pornography shots you see on this page.