Squid Ink Risotto with Scallops and Peas – Now you seafood, now you don’t.

Squid Ink Risotto (1 of 1)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.

If we want to get her back from the dark side, we need quality ingredients.

If we want to get her back from the dark side, we need quality ingredients.

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. 

Ingredients: 

  • 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.

Just about translucent. Ready to add the rice.

Just about translucent. Ready to add the rice.

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.

The process of stirring goes on for another half an hour from here.

The process of stirring goes on for another half an hour from here.

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. 

The risotto will slowly start to bulk up as this process goes on.

The risotto will slowly start to bulk up as this process goes on.

Repeat the process as the rice absorbs the stock. When the rice has bulked up a deal, add the squid ink.

Don't get it on your fingers. You will look like you had been voting in a third world election.

Don’t get it on your fingers. You will look like you had been voting in a third world election.

Stir the ink in and let things get dark.

I love this bit. The risotto takes on a beautiful colour and is nearly cooked.

I love this bit. The risotto takes on a beautiful colour and is nearly cooked.

Taste the risotto as it gets near cooked. About 5 minutes out, add the peas and stir them in.

The peas need to be warmed through but not overcooked.

The peas need to be warmed through but not overcooked.

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.

They taste great. Don't be put off by their squidgyness (Is there such a word?)

They taste great. Don’t be put off by their squidgyness (Is there such a word?)

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.

Don't mess around at this stage. Get it served in warm bowls. Quickly now!

Don’t mess around at this stage. Get it served in warm bowls. Quickly now!

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.

The big picture shows this off pretty well. Would she be impressed?

The big picture shows this off pretty well. Would she be impressed?

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!

This tells the tale better than I could. She loved it.

This tells the tale better than I could. She loved it.

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  • That looks delicious. I’m surprised you didn’t need to keep the wine handy to refresh yourself while doing all that stirring 😉

    • I do that fairly regularly MD. There is a downside to it as you undoubtedly know.

      • Ha ha – not if you hook yourself up to a drip 😉

  • It’s always strange seeing that colour of food – it makes the dish look very stylish indeed. A beautiful recipe as usual, Conor.

    • Thanks Nick. The eldest was a bit conflicted about it too. She thought it looked “weird”. She enjoyed it anyway. I really enjoyed this one. The black really helps the other colours jump.

  • I’m with you all the way on the corals, I can never understand why some people chuck them away. The risotto looks wonderful – fabulous colours and flavours. Very inspiring.

    • Thanks Linda,
      The corals used to scare me a bit too. However, once caramelised, they are epic and undoubtedly the best bit of the whole experience.

  • …. and I don’t suppose a decent drop hurt in washing down this deliciousness. Glad the ED is seeing sense!

    • Thanks Kate. A decent drop always helps. I hope your Christmas went well for you.
      Best,
      C

      • Everyone ate well, there was plenty of leftover trifle for breakfast the next day (carefully engineered, that), and best of all, I had no turkey carcass to deal with. A win all round, I’d say… I trust yours was equally positive!

        • We had a roast rib of beef. There is still a sandwich or two left in it….

  • I never see scallops with the coral attached to them here in the states…I guess they get thrown away when being cleaned. Your photo (next to last) of the plated dish is great. It looks like I could grab the fork and take a bite…wish I could as it looks terrific.

    • Thanks Karen,
      That is a terrible waste. The coral is the best bit, by far.
      Thanks for the kind words.
      Have a peaceful and fun New Year,
      Conor

  • I second what Karen said: I’ve never even seen a photo of scallop coral here in the US! I’ll have to ask at our very good fishmonger.

    • Hi Flori,
      They do exist, I promise!
      Happy New Year,
      Conor

  • Looks delish. Has a squid ink risotto with prawns in Valencia last summer. Similar and very tasty. Nice work Conor. Happy New Year to you.

    • Thanks Kristin,
      I would trade here for Valencia right now.
      Have a peaceful and prosperous 2015.
      Conor

  • Looks delish. Had squid ink risotto with prawns in Valencia last summer. Similar and very tasty. Happy New Year Conor.

    • I would trade Valencia for here right now.
      Happy New Year,
      Conor

  • Interesting! I was not aware that the squid ink comes in packets like that. I wonder if they are sold here in the US?.. I think it would be fun to try it when making homemade pasta. Karen is right, we do not have the coral on the scallops here in the US. I guess we will never know what we are missing.

    Happy New Year, Conor!

    • You will yost have to visit with us here in Ireland Debbie.
      Happy New Year,
      Conor

      • Conor, I just may have to some day. My grandmother was an O’Berry so I have a drop or two of Irish blood in me. 🙂

  • back with me vegetarian self to laugh through your wonderful writing. good looking photos too!! best of the new year to you, wordsmithing carnivore 🙂

    • Thank you. High praise indeed coming from one so inflicted.
      Happy New Year,
      Conor

  • My favourite part of cooking a risotto is that you need only one hand to stir with. The other is quite happy to hold a large glass of wine.

    You may have converted me to squid ink, but I’m not sure. Let’s see in 2015. Thanks for the superb posts during the year, Conor, congratulations on your mighty success and looking forward to what’s in store in the New Year.

    • Thank you Tara. I really enjoyed meeting you at the launch and then sharing our successes on “the night”. I look forward with renewed excitement to more complete culinary nonsense in ’15.

      • And more success, Conor… Don’t forget how good that tastes!

  • I’m confused. What is this “put the wine in the fridge so you don’t drink it” bit? 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever had the opportunity to have the coral bit on the scallop. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it. This is a beautiful dish and I’m glad ED liked it.

    • Sorry about that. A lapse into sobriety on my part. I’ll try harder in future.

  • This looks delicious. I love how visually striking the colours are.

  • Gorgeous dish! I love squid ink pasta so I know I will love your risotto. You know I have never cooked with the orange parts of the scallop as the little Cantonese fish monger who prepares my scallops always removes them. Now the tricky part is trying to in my very bad Cantonese ask her to leave on those little orange bits. Will let you know how that goes. Wishing you a super 2015!

    • Thanks BAM,
      Talk nicely to your fishmonger. They are highly prized.
      You too have a lovely 2015.
      Conor

  • Does squid ink have much of a flavour? It’s gorgeous. Happy New Year. Melissa

    • Hi Melissa,
      It has a sort of squidiness, if such a word is allowed. However, the taste gets lost in the stock and scallop flavours.
      Happy New Year to you and yours too.
      C

  • I didn’t know that one could buy squid ink! It tastes just as good as fresh squid ink?

    • A slight taste of the sea.

      • I haven’t seen squid ink in a pouch here in the Philippines. I have to buy fresh squid whenever I cook Paella Negra and I hate the tentacles!

        • Funny, the tentacles are my favourite bit. Paella Negra is a new term for me. Very descriptive.
          Best,
          Conor

  • Great idea, I love squid ink, generally I prepare squid ink linguine and like it.
    Your squid ink risotto with scallops and peas looks great, thanks for sharing 😊

    Best wishes,
    Alice

    • Thanks Alice. Thanks for visiting also.
      I do plan to prepare squid ink pasta very soon.
      Best,
      Conor

  • Everything but the ink. Can’t do it. Your posts so enjoyable though, I just come for the entertainment.

  • Reblogged this on uvirfarms.

  • Fantastic looking dish! You said you harvested your own ink previously, but in that previous post it looks like you said you failed. I tried this once as well and also failed miserably. I was hoping you had a picture showing how to actually do it. I think you got the right idea though, just buy it. Looks a whole lot cleaner than the mess I made!

    • Sorry for spreading confusion (like I spread squid ink all over the kitchen). I have managed to rescue the sacs in the past. I will do in the future. It’s very satisfying. I am convinced that the freshness of the squid makes or breaks the deal. I will try again and I promise to post the picture. I have a hankering for some squid ink pasta.

  • damn delicious!!!
    i think i can’t be a friend with domeone who hate squid ink…
    this risotto will be suits with smoked paprika or chili for my licking

  • Where do you buy the Squid Ink sachets in Dublin ? Asian market ?

    Stephen

    • Hi Stephen,
      George’s Fish Shop in Monkstown.
      They usually have it.
      Beat,
      Conor

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