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Dalmatian recipes
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Black Risotto
Crni rižoto

This is a highly prized and unusual dish. If you are looking for a recipe to impress seafood-loving guests, this is definitely one to try. This recipe is courtesy of Joso's restaurant in Toronto, Canada, whose celebrity clientele raves about the black risotto served there. The restaurateur, Joso Špralja, is a Croatian from Dalmatia who introduced the Canadian food-loving public to this delectable dish!

Serves 4
2 pounds fresh cuttlefish (also known as sepia, about 3 medium sized)
1 pound fresh squid (about 2 medium sized)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cups arborio rice (short grained Italian rice)
1 tablespoon olive oil (for rice)
lemon slices for garnish
parsley for garnish

To clean the cuttlefish: wash the cuttlefish under running water. Pat dry and then cut
through the back of the cuttlefish using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife. Remove the
insides, carefully separating the small ink sac and setting it aside. Discard the rest of the
innards, also removing the hard white bone from the back. Next, cut the tentacles from
the body and set aside. Squeeze out the chickpea sized, round, beak which will be
protruding from the body and discard.

To clean the squid: gently pull the body and head apart. Clean the stomach of all of the entrails, and carefully remove the small ink sac and set it aside for later use. Remove and discard the transparent quill from the body sac. Wash the inside of the squid thoroughly under cold running water. Remember to squeeze out the beak and discard. Cut off the tentacles and set aside.

Next, slice the cuttlefish and squid into 1" strips, and then 2" cubes and then set aside. Chop tentacles and place in bowl with the rest of the seafood. In a small bowl break the ink sacs and scrape out the ink. Add a few drops of water, and using a fork stir into a thick paste.

Heat a large, deep skillet with the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion and
when soft, add all of the cuttlefish and squid (including tentacles).Cook until soft and golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add garlic and parsley, stirring to combine. Pour in the wine, vinegar and then stir in the ink paste. Cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Rinse the rice, and then add it to the skillet along with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir to coat the rice in oil and skillet juices and sauté for about 1 to 2 minutes. Then add enough hot water to cover the rice completely and cook uncovered until the rice
al dente, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir occasionally. If the rice dries out, add another 1/2 cup of hot water (reduce the additions of water to 1/4 cup after 20 minutes) and then stir-cook. Remember to stir well and always loosen the rice from the bottom of the pot so that it doesn't stick.

Remove from heat when done and place on serving platter. Garnish by surrounding with sliced lemons and sprinkling additional parsley if so desired.

Black risotto may be served on its own with salad and crusty bread or it may accompany grilled fish or squid including calamari. Actually, it is sinfully delicious with any seafood!

$ Some fishmongers will clean the cuttlefish and squid for you, just remember to ask them to reserve the ink sacs!
? Reduce the 1/3 cup of olive oil somewhat by using a nonstick skillet.

Source: The Best of Croatian Cooking

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