This invertebrate (Sepia officinalis), which belongs to the order of mollusks and the family of the cephalopods, is called calamaio (inkwell) in Florence, perhaps because nature has given it a sack containing a black liquid that can be used as ink with which to defend itself.
- Freshly caught cuttlefish, with its ink sack (exact amounts below)
- Olive oil
- Beat greens
Finely mince two small onions, or better yet one onion and a clove of garlic, and sauté this mixture in a pot, in a quarter cup of good olive oil. When it’s lightly browned, add the cuttlefish and wait till they begin to color before adding about a pound and a half of well washed, ribbed, and coarsely chopped beat greens. Mix well, and let the mixture simmer for about a half-hour, then add 3 cups of rice (the weight of the cuttlefish) and the ink. As soon as the rice absorbs the color from the ink, add boiling water and finish cooking the risotto (stir in water, a ladle at a time, until the rice reaches the al dente stage). The rice should not be overcooked, and when we say dry we mean it should form a mound on the serving platter. You should, generally, accompany rice with grated Parmigiano, though you should forego the cheese when the rice is cooked with hard to digest ingredients like these, if you’ve got a delicate stomach.
Now I’ll give you another method, leaving the choice of which you prefer up to you. No beet greens, no ink, and when the cuttlefish begin to color, as above, add the rice and cook with boiling water and a half cup of tomato sauce or two tablespoons of tomato paste. A dollop of butter added will give the risotto grace, and when it’s almost done stir in some grated Parmigiano.
I also added some fresh North Sea octopus – cleaned and stewed in its own juice for 25 mins.