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Alessi cuisine



Black risotto, with cuttlefish, florentine style

(Risotto nero, con le seppie, alla fiorentina)

  • 300 grams of semi-refined rice
  • 3 or 4 cuttlefish, very fresh, with their bladders well full (that you will keep), not finely chopped
  • a chopped mixture composed by:
    4 garlic cloves
    a small bunch of parsley
    3 hot chilli peppers
    ½ glass of white wine
    one fish stock cube
    olive oil
Ask the fishmonger to prepare the cuttlefish already cleaned and with the black and “latti” bladders separate and entire. Tale the tentacles and the cuttlefish sac and, with a knife, chopped them after having rinsed them very well. Take a saucepan, put 4 spoons of oil together with the chopped herbs and let them brown, over a medium heat, for 5 minutes turning them very often. Add the chopped cuttlefish, turn and mix very well with the cooking bottom, let cook for 7-8 minutes, always over a medium heat, then add the wine and let evaporate completely: 2-3 minutes should be sufficient. In the meanwhile make a litre of broth with the fish stock cube and keep it warm to use afterwards.
Back to the pan with the cuttlefish. At the right time add one big spoon of broth, then take the black and “latti” bladders and cut them in order to pour into the pan both the inside and the skins. Turn and mix once afgani and very well in order everything will get a dark colour (it should be black if the bladders are very full) and a strong saltish smell, but calm, with a sweet intonation.
Taste and add some salt if necessary, then add 30 grams of butter and another big spoon of very hot fish broth and cook 7 or 8 minutes more. After this time pour the rice, turn and mix very well, adjust the heat for a very slow cooking. Take care anything would stick on the bottom, so that turn it very often, let it cook for 10 minutes more, gradually adding some more broth when the stuff starts to thicken too much. At the end it should result quite liquid, even compact. Serve without adding anything else, especially cheese.
This type of rice is made in all the maritime cookings. The one we have presented has the characteristic to be very balanced because it opposes to the fundamental delicacy of the mollusc the spicy of the hot chilli peppers, with the result of a full and round taste, without any yieldings, but also without any excesses. Even if Firenze is not a seaside resort, the tradition to use cuttlefish and their black bladders is very old, we can find written witnesses since the XVI century: in “De la seppia” and in “Del nero e de la seppia” included in the “Libro de la cocina” of an Anonimo Toscano who lived at that time.

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati

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