Cuttlefish and Zucchini Risotto alla Scapece

My parents just left on a train to Rome after an all too brief visit here in Puglia. My daughter was delighted to have her Oma and Opa here, showering her with attention, hugs, kisses and gelato. We took short day trips to surrounding towns and enjoyed a wonderful lunch by the sea at a restaurant called La Barca, the fish was fresh and the antipasti were wonderful. They served us a take on an insalata di mare with calamari and zucchini alla scapece, I decided to use the same concept of the fish with the zucchini and mint and create a risotto.

The zucchini in a scapece is usually browned in olive oil and then tossed with the mint, but I thought that browning the zucchini would overpower the flavor of the delicate fish broth and the subtlety of the cuttlefish. I used cuttlefish, which I love and I find a bit meatier than calamari. I threw the zucchini into the risotto in the middle of the cooking, so that they would cook a bit, but retain their crunchiness. That freshness was wonderful, especially with the burst of mint. A delicious risotto and a fun experiment.

Having my parents here really helped me jump out of a culinary rut. My mother’s wheat allergy steered me away from the pasta and challenged me to jump out of my comfort zone in the kitchen, which was greatly refreshing. I finally experimented with mussels, which Taranto is so famous for, so do expect to see a lot of black shells in the coming months, my husband and I are hooked. These mussels don’t mess around, they are out of this world.

Cuttlefish and Zucchini Risotto alla Scapece

  • 1 lb cuttlefish, cleaned with ink sacks removed and set aside
  • 4 small zucchini, cut into 8ths and sliced
  • ½ an onion, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 1 cup of carnaroli or Arborio rice (Italians measure rice by demitasse cups, 1 cup for each person and one for the pot)
  • 4½ cups fish broth
  • 2 cups of dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 mint leaves, cut into slivers
  • salt to taste

Rinse cuttlefish under cold water and cut into bite-sized pieces. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over high heat and add the whole cloves of garlic. When garlic starts to sizzle add cuttlefish and stir, after about a minute, add 1 cup of white wine and cover, reducing the heat to medium-high.

The cuttlefish should simmer for at least 30 minutes before you start with the risotto. Discard the garlic before stirring into the risotto.

Chop onion into fine pieces and bring the fish broth to a simmer.

Heat a large stove-top casserole pan over medium-high heat and pour in the remaining olive oil in the pan, covering the pan. Add onion and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add rice and coat it in the oil, toasting it a bit. When the rice becomes opaque, after about 1 minute add a cup of wine to the pan, enough to cover the rice, stir frequently.

When the rice has absorbed the wine, ladle in the broth and continue stirring. Once the rice starts to absorb the broth add the cuttlefish and the zucchini. Continue adding the broth as the rice absorbs it, you want it to almost dry out before adding the broth each time.

When the rice is finished it should be al dente and all of the liquid should be absorbed. Remove from heat and toss the chopped mint in. Serve immediately.

One Year Ago: Tagliatelle with Yellow Zucchini and Olive Tapenade

Two Years Ago: Risotto with Artichokes, Saffron and Baby Shrimp

Three Years Ago: Fish Stew with Quinoa, Grilled Vermillion Snapper and Grilled Veggies, Farfalle with Grilled Zucchini and Sausages & Honeydew Melon and Green Tomato Salad

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~ by italicious on May 29, 2012.

One Response to “Cuttlefish and Zucchini Risotto alla Scapece”

  1. A lovely combination for a risotto!

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