For many their favourite rice dish is the aromatic and creamy risotto which with the seasonal and local ingredients enables it to simply shimmer on our plate. An especially attractive variant of this dish is black risotto of cuttlefish, which apart from the excellent taste attracts attention with its unusual colour obtained from the addition of cuttlefish ink.
In Dalmatian homes this seafood speciality is most often eaten as a light appetiser, although it is nutritious and tasty enough that we eat it today as the real star of a whole meal. It has an intensive taste and represents a real delicacy which will delight lovers of fish specialities. Although people consider it as a luxury dish, in Dalmatia black risotto made with cuttlefish is also often prepared as a fasting dish for Christmas Eve, when according to Christian tradition simple recipes with fish and seafood are cooked.
Its preparation begins with the brief toasting of the rice which is then poured over with a small quantity of water, wine, stock or chosen sauce. The liquid is added to the rice gradually in order that the starch used for the creamy texture of this popular dish is extracted from the grains. A freshly caught cuttlefish, which is the star of black risotto, should be cleaned well and then the black ink, which the animal otherwise uses as a defence mechanism against predators, needs to be carefully removed. Only the diluted ink is added to the dish just before the end of cooking in order that this risotto assumes its recognised look. Apart from the cuttlefish, the special flavour of this risotto is also achieved by the addition of Prošek, the Dalmatian dessert wine which is added to the rice during cooking and which gives it a particular aroma.
Black risotto is served while it is still warm because it loses the creamy texture as the cooked rice absorbs the remaining liquid. Although it has a strong taste of the sea, this risotto is easily digestible and is an ideal starter at feasts of many courses, and the fresh ingredients, of which in Dalmatia there is no lack of, guarantee a top gastronomic experience.