A long while ago, I cooked a squid risotto. That time, I carefully preserved the ink sacs to blacken the rice and to add some extra flavour. This time, I managed to buy a couple of sachets of squid ink. I was planning to do something very tasty to try to convince Eldest Daughter (ED) that not all shellfish and crustaceans are revolting. She was living with the memory of a bad shellfish experience and was pretty appalled by the thought of anything in or out of a shell. I had my work cut out.
ED loves a risotto. So, I that’s what I went with and enhanced it with some delicious scallops. Hence my recipe for Squid Ink Risotto with Scallops and Peas.
Side note on being grossed out: Some people are offended by the coral on the scallops (the bright orange bit). It is the tastiest piece by far. Get over it.
- 250 grammes of risotto rice (Arborio in this case)
- 1 litre (2 pints) of fish stock
- 1 glass of white wine
- 1 onion
- 1 small bowl of fresh or frozen peas
- 16 fresh scallops
- 2 sachets of squid ink
- Salt and pepper to season
Chop and sweat down the onions, in a little olive oil, over a low flame, until translucent. While this is going on, warm the stock until just below boiling. Open the wine. Remove the coral from the scallops and reserve. Pick off any hard lumpy bits from the scallops. Discard the lumpys.
Add the rice and stir until the rice is covered with the oil and well mixed with the onions. Keep the heat low to medium. Add the glass of wine and stir until the alcohol evaporates and the rice absorbs the wine.
Side note on the pleasure of cooking risotto: There is a very enjoyable aspect to cooking risotto. Over a low enough heat, the process takes about 40 minutes. This is time I love to spend. You may prefer to boil rice in a bag in the microwave. If you do, you are wasting more of your valuable time by reading this.
Remember to put the white wine in the fridge at this stage. It will stop you drinking it and it will cool it nicely to accompany the dish. Add a ladle of the stock to the rice and stir until incorporated.
Repeat the process as the rice absorbs the stock. When the rice has bulked up a deal, add the squid ink.
Stir the ink in and let things get dark.
Taste the risotto as it gets near cooked. About 5 minutes out, add the peas and stir them in.
When the risotto is cooked, press the scallops into the rice and place a lid on the pan. Leave them there, undisturbed for 5 minutes. Use the 5 minutes to warm some butter in a frying pan. Fry the corals in the butter.
Remove the lid from the risotto pan and gaze in wonder at the scallops, gently cooked in the blackened rice. Take the wine out of the fridge.
I served it with the wine and a deal of trepidation as ED had looked in a couple of times, with disapproval, during my 40 minutes in front of the cooker.
We reach the end of this little tale and the picture tells its own story. ED started to eat with caution and gathered pace as she enjoyed the tastiness of the dish. When she finished, she sat back and said “Now you seafood, now you don’t”. Success!