Black Ink Risotto

Risotto Nero

This is the original recipe for risotto made with the ink taken from squid. If you cannot get hold of squid with their ink sac, you will have to abandon the idea of making this dish until your next self-catering holiday in Italy!

Although the most off-putting thing about this dish is undoubtedly its colour - we are simply not used to eating black food! - it’s a delight for those amongst us who love really strong fishy tastes.


  • lb (1 kg) fresh or frozen squid, with ink sacs
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 11 oz (300 g) risotto rice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée, diluted with 5 tablespoons warm water
  • pints (1 litre) hot vegetable or fish stock
  • salt and pepper


Peel each squid carefully as explained and then slip out the black ink sac intact and reserve. Cut the squid open and remove and discard the yellow sac and the bone. Slice the fish into neat strips or squares, wash it carefully and set aside until required.

Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan and fry the onion and garlic until the onion is transparent. Then add the parsley and fry for a further 4 minutes. Add the squid and stir thoroughly, then add the wine and allow the alcohol to evaporate for about 2 minutes. Split open the ink sacs and pour the ink over the squid. Stir and lower the heat. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes.

Then add the rice and stir. Add the tomato purée and begin to cook the risotto, putting in 1 ladleful hot stock at a time and waiting for the rice to absorb it before adding the next ladleful, stirring constantly. The rice will take 20 minutes to cook, at which point add the seasoning to taste. Serve at once, arranged on a platter.