Black Risotto


There are some dishes in Croatia, like this risotto, which we call specijaliteti, which means they are just special. You could call this the magical dish of the Adriatic, because it will enchant your taste buds.There is a silver sac inside cuttlefish that is full of black ink (the cuttlefish releases this to defend itself when in danger), which is an essential part of this dish. You can also buy squid ink in a jar or in small plastic bags, but I recommend using fresh ink as it has a special flavor that makes this dish amazing. Also, make sure you use fresh and not frozen cuttlefish because the frozen ink sac will feel like it is full of sand instead of liquid and won’t give the dish as good a flavour or colour.Excerpted with permission from Dalmatia by Ino Kuvačić, published by Hardie Grant Books May 2017, RRP $40.00 hardcover.Slideshow: More Risotto Recipes

Black Risotto
Photo: Chris Middleton and Ino Kuvačić


  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic

  • 100 milliliters (3 1/2 fluid ounces) extra-virgin olive oil

  • 200 grams (7 ounces) brown onions, chopped

  • 1 kilogram (2 pounds 3 ounces) cuttlefish

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (concentrated purée)

  • 100 milliliters (3 1/2 fluid ounces) white wine

  • 600 milliliters (20 1/2 fluid ounces / 2 1/2 cups) fish stock or water

  • 1/2 tablespoon cuttlefish ink (see method)

  • 300 grams (10 1/2 ounces) risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli)

  • Sea salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a frying pan over high heat, sauté the chopped garlic in a little olive oil for a few seconds, making sure it does not burn. Add the onion, reduce the heat to low, and sauté until golden and transparent, approximately 10–15 minutes. (It’s important to sauté the garlic before the onion as this will help to release its aroma.)

  2. Before cleaning out the inside and bones of the cuttlefish, carefully remove the silver sac of ink from the middle of the cuttlefish, making sure not to break it, and set it aside. Cut the cuttlefish into 1 centimeter (1/2 inch) cubes.

  3. Add the diced cuttlefish to the sautéed garlic and onion and season well with salt and pepper. Sauté the cuttlefish until all the liquid that has been released has evaporated and the cuttlefish starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, caramelising slightly. Add the tomato paste and cook for a few seconds, then add the white wine and cook until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. Add the fish stock or water, 1/2 tablespoon of the cuttlefish ink, and adjust the seasoning. Leave to simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

  4. Add the rice and cook for 16 minutes, stirring the risotto constantly until it is done (the rice should be cooked but still slightly firm). If the risotto is too thick, you can add some more fish stock and olive oil at the end. Add more seasoning if needed and serve immediately.

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