This recipe has an unmistakeable flavour known around the world. It is a typically Venetian dish, but it is also prepared throughout Croatia and everywhere Venetian merchants established their commercial bases. Today, it is something of an icon because many famous chefs have interpreted it in many versions, some truly creative. Try it! Your guests will be enthusiastic!


Fumet    as needed
Rice    800 g
Cuttlefish     250 g
Dry white wine    80 g
Extra virgin olive oil    50 g
Onion    30 g
Cuttlefish sepia    no. 2 sepia bladders (8 g)
Garlic cloves    no. 2 (6 g)
Table salt    to taste
Black pepper    to taste


Casserole or rice cooker

Follow These 5 Steps to Start

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Stew the chopped onion and unpeeled garlic with evo oil in a casserole or rice cooker. Add the cuttlefish cut in fine julienne.

Cook for about 20 minutes, adding fumet as necessary. When the pan is dry again, remove the garlic, set aside half the cuttlefish, pour in the rice and toast for 40 seconds over a big flame, stirring vigorously.

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Moisten with white wine and let it evaporate. Continue cooking. Add boiling fumet little by little. When half cooked, add one sepia bladder, and the second one if necessary.

Continue cooking. Fold in some evo oil.

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Serve immediately. Decorate each portion with a few fillets of the previously set aside cuttlefish. Garnish the edges of the dishes with cuttlefish sepia diluted with a few drops of water. You can leave a brush stroke on the plate or mark thin lines with the aid of a cone of parchment paper or a squeeze dispenser.

The cook’s secrets

Instead of the fresh sepia bladders, today packets of conserved sepia are available on the market. Sepia is used to prepare many other specialities such as coloured pasta, gnocchi and bread.

 Making fumet

Fish broth (fumet) is used as a base for many preparations. To make 1 litre of excellent fumet, follow these simple suggestions:

 Water    as needed
Fish bones and trimmings    200 g
Leeks    60 g
Carrots    60 g
Green celery    60 g
Bay leaf    no. 1
Kitchen salt    to taste

1. Rinse the fish bones and trimmings well (of both flat and streamlined varieties of fish).
2. Place all ingredients in a large pot, cover with water and boil for one hour over a low flame, skimming as necessary.
3. Blast cool and filter through the chinois with the help of an étamine (a fine linen cloth used to filter liquids and sauces).

 What fish to use

Many types of fish are appropriate for preparing fumet. In general, lean fish with delicate flavours are preferred, for example scorpion fish, sea bass, John Dory, gilthead, sole, turbot or brill, etc. Fish such as eels, ray or skate and salmon are not appropriate. Fatty fish and skeletons with much cartilage make a broth that is too heavy and gelatinous for the usual use of fumet. Fumet usually serves as the base for other preparations, so if it is too strongly flavoured it will cover the aromas of the other distinguishing ingredients. However, for typical dishes or creative experiments, there is no reason not to use the fish that are normally excluded.

 The cuttlefish

The body has the shape of an oval bag (from 7-8 cm and up to 50 cm in length). Under the skin of the back it has a flat dorsal shell known as the cuttlebone. The small head has ten tentacles, two of which are longer than the others. Like squid, the cuttlefish also has a small bladder containing black material that is used in culinary preparations. The meat is white and quite tough, especially when the animals are large. The most common preparations are stewed, boiled, stuffed and baked, but small fish are also grilled or fried.

How Much Do You Know…?

Bouillabaisse is

Black is a colour of its own that condenses and consumes all the others (Henri Matisse)