Risotto Nero

October 15, 2019
Family Verdict:


1 litre, fish stock - hot

75g butter

4 garlic cloves, peeled an finely chopped

300g risotto rice (I used arborio, I suspect they use something else)

120ml good white wine

3 sachets squid ink (although I used 3 for half quantity to get the depth of colour)

2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley

salt and pepper

Heat the fish stock in a pan and keep it warm

Melt the butter in a large pan, fry the garlic for minute on a low-medium heat

Add the rice, cook and stir gently for 1 minute

Pour in the wine and cook until it is absorbed by the rice, stirring continuously

Add a ladle of fish stock, stirring while it is absorbed by the rice

Continue to add stock ladle by ladle until the rice is al-dente

Add the squid ink and stir to colour the rice

When there is only one ladle of stock left, turn off the heat and add remaining stock. Stir in the parsley and season to taste.


So I recognise this is something it is unlikely you are going to cook on the spur of the moment - unless you happen to keep squid ink in your cupboard which, chances are you don't. However I went to the River Cafe last weekend with the Former Neighbours from the Big House and the Neighbours from across the road. There was an occasion that stimulated the booking, but essentially it was a parental jolly booed some months in advance. You may have read elsewhere that I really rate the River Cafe. The formula of quality ingredients, simly cooked is one a lot of people claim, but few achieve. The River Cafe does, consistently, for 30 plus years - which is an amazing achievement.

This visit wasn't a disappointment and although it lightens your wallet a lot, it is worth it for it refreshes your belief in the good things of life. It is life affirming, which is quite an achievement for a few plates of food.

The standout dish this visit was a shared plate of Risotto Nero - black risotto coloured with squid ink and flavoured with Fish stock. but it relies on quality ingredients (if you read the RC cook Book where this recipe comes from, the recipe for Fish Stock starts with 'the best FishStock is made with Turbot bones...' As this is beyond mot of us I approached this recipe with caution, especially so soon after the Visit (this is the Monday following).

However the Former Neighbours were going to be in the area, and - even better - could source some (bought) fish stock and squid ink. What better than guests who bring their own ingredients. So here we go. I made a half of the quantity for the 3 of us, which didn't look very much but actually turned out just right. And don't forget to season at the end - the RC version has a distinctly peppery flavour, and adding pepper at the end really picks up the flavour. The result was a passable copy - if I hadn't tasted the echt version I would have been very happy. As it was, I was content and sated. Result.

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