Recipe: Squid ink risotto, from ‘Siciliano’ by Joe Vargetto

This recipe is taken from Siciliano, a new book filled with Southern Italian recipes by renowned Melbourne-based chef Joe Vargetto (Mister Bianco). Each with their own story, the mouth-watering recipes in the book feature the fresh seasonal produce and the distinctive flavours of Sicily.

Dishes such as Rose Petal Parfait; Blood Orange Risotto with Yoghurt & Tuna Carpaccio and Chinotto Poached Quince with Rum Gelato, all exquisitely photographed with easy to follow recipes, will ensure that Siciliano becomes a much – used cookbook in your kitchen.

For those keen to immerse themselves fully in this beautiful book, we’ve put together an incredible set bringing together some of the specialty ingredients mentioned in the recipes, as well as a copy of the book itself. The set makes a stunning gift for a food lover in your life, or a great way to fill your own pantry with the finest Italian (and Italian-inspired) ingredients.

Already have the book? Find the set of Siciliano-inspired ingredients without a copy of the book here

To celebrate the release of this wonderful set, we’re giving away one of our Siciliano book and ingredient sets, including a signed copy of the book. There are also two runner-up prizes of a signed copy of the book. Click here to enter, but hurry- entries close at midnight on Tuesday 1st June.

“This was a risotto that I put on the menu at Langton’s after Philippe Mouchel asked me for a few rice recipes. I used black rice that was coloured with squid ink and it didn’t sell to start with. No-one wanted it. Then I changed the recipe slightly and used calamari rather than squid and it suddenly started selling. But I think the original grilled squid version is better, which is why I’ve included it here..” Joe Vargetto

Ingredients

Serves 4
300g Carnaroli rice View
1 shallot, finely shopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
40mL dry white wine
200g calamari, cut very thinly and finely
1L vegetable stock
100g butter
200mL olive oil View
50mL black squid ink View
150g parmesan cheese
2 lemons, juiced
Salt and pepper
FOR THE ACID BUTTER:
400mL white wine
400mL white wine vinegar View
4 shallots, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
500g butter
1tsp white peppercorns View

Acid Butter
Add all the ingredients together, except for the butter, and reduce by half. Whisk in butter, and chill.

Risotto
Sweat the shallots and garlic in a pan on medium heat until the ingredients become soft. Add and lightly toast the rice. Add the white wine. Once the wine has reduced, cover with hot stock and stir, adding more stock as required.

Add the squid ink at the 8-minute mark (risotto takes anywhere between 15 and 18 minutes).

Check the rice and add stock as needed, adding less stock as the rice becomes cooked. The rice is cooked when each grain holds its shape and has a good body but is not crunchy. Remove the rice from heat and mount with 2 tablespoons of butter, parmesan cheese and olive oil. Season to taste.

Poach the calamari. Bring water, salt, lemon juice and olive oil to the boil. Add the calamari and cook for 30 seconds. Drain the liquid into a colander and place the calamari in a bowl. Dress the calamari with olive oil and place the calamari on top of the risotto.

The rice must be creamy and smooth. Spoon the risotto on each of the 4 flat plates and spread the risotto flat by firmly tapping the base of each plate. Season with black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with thinly sliced lemon slices to use a palate cleanser.

Recipe and image from SICILIANO by Joe Vargetto
Publisher: Melbourne Books
Photo: Silvia Zanon

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