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Arroz negro – black rice

  • for 4 people
  • Ready in 1¼ hours
  • Easy
Arroz negro - Black. Rice. Yes really. Try it and be transported to Valencia.

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INGREDIENTS

3 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1kg squid or cuttlefish, cleaned, gutted and finely sliced into rings
2 red or green peppers (or 1 of each), deseeded and finely chopped
50g squid or cuttlefish ink
1 tsp tomato purèe
About 1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock, or a kettle full of hot water
250g paella rice
125ml white wine
Fresh flatleaf parsley, to garnish

METHOD

1. Heat the oil in the widest-bottomed pan you have, if you are not using a paellera (a wide paella pan). Add the garlic and onions and fry until soft and translucent, then add the fish, the peppers and a pinch of salt. Cook this very gently until the fish and peppers are tender – about 20 minutes for squid; 30 for cuttlefish.
2. Meanwhile, snip open the sachets of ink and pop them into a measuring jug with the tomato purÈe. Fill to the 1-litre mark with either hot stock or the hot water from the kettle. Stir to get as much ink from the sachets as possible. (You get more this way than by trying to squeeze it out.)
3. When the fish and peppers are tender, sweet and sticky looking, add the rice to the pan and stir to coat. Add the wine, stir, and cook for a couple of minutes. Now add the inky liquid through a strainer. (If there is more ink left in the sachets, squeeze it out onto the cooking rice with your fingers.) Cook the rice gently by the absorption method, stirring every now and then. If you need more liquid, just add a little more hot water. When the liquid is absorbed and the rice is just al dente (not too soft), remove from the heat, season, and rest in the pan for about 5 minutes.

  • Squid or cuttlefish ink is like a concentrated stock that has a subtle hint of the sea. You can buy the ink in sachets in Spanish and Italian delis. You could also ask a fishmonger to reserve the ink sac of the squid or cuttlefish when you buy it. See our Know How section for details of how to prepare squid and cuttlefish.
  • Wine note: surprisingly – given its dark colour – this is best with a fresh, fairly simple white. Good-quality Soave would be refreshing.

From February 2005

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