Squid Ink Risotto with Seared Sea Scallops, Calamari & Cherrystone Clams, Pistachio Cilantro Quenelle, and a Saffron Dashi Velouté

This dish totally didn’t turn out the way that I had planned but as Tim Gunn says on Project Runway, “Make it work!” I made it work.

My original plan failed because of my crappy food processor. I’m still using the same one when I was back in Texas. It’s so small and the plastic pieces keep on breaking and the speed is quite weak… I also wanted calamari tentacles but at Whole Foods, they only had the tubes. Anyway, the final product was quite delicious.

[100% organic, wild sea scallops, calamari from Thailand, clams from USA]

For the Risotto

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ¼ cup Arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 6 cups dashi stock
  • 2 TBS squid ink
  • ¼ cup parmesan, freshly grated
  • Salt & pepper

Heat up the stock and keep simmering at low heat. In a pan on medium-low heat, melt the butter and heat up the olive oil. Sweat the garlic and shallots and sweat until translucent. Stir in the rice and make sure the butter and oil fully coats the rice. Cook until the ends of the rice are transparent, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Then add in the wine and cook until completely absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated.

Add 1 cup of the hot stock mixture and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the bottom of the pan is almost dry. Adding ½ cup stock at a time, stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed between each addition. Be careful not to let the bottom of the pan dry out. Continue to stir often, and repeat until the rice is al dente, about 20-30 minutes. Before adding the last addition of stock, stir in the squid ink.

When risotto is done, season with salt and pepper. Then fold in the grated cheese and combine well. Adjust seasoning and keep warm.

For the Pistachio Cilantro Quenelles

  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, and extra for ganish
  • 2 TBS miso
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt & pepper

The miso already has a lot of salt in it so be mindful of when you season. Put everything into the food processor and blend until desired consistency. Remove and set aside.

For the Calamari

  • 3 calamari tubes
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & pepper

Slice the tubes into rings. Sauté the calamari for 1-2 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Drain from pan and keep warm.

For the Clams & Velouté

  • 2 cups dashi stock
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 4 Cherrystone clams
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS AP flour
  • Salt

If you have remaining dashi stock from the risotto, add that to the 2 cups for the velouté. Place the saffron into warm dashi stock and let it infuse for 15 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Add in the clams and bring to a slow simmer. Once the clams have fully opened, they are ready.

Remove clams from shells and keep warm. Strain dashi through a strainer lined with cheesecloth and into another pot. Slowly whisk in the butter and flour, to make the roux, and once sauce as thickened, adjust for seasoning and keep warm.

For the Scallops

  • 4 colossal sea scallops
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat a pan over high heat and add in enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Before you add in the scallops, you should see the tiniest bit of smoke. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Once you put the scallops into the pan, DO NOT MOVE THEM and turn heat to medium. Cook scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on how big your scallops are.


In a ring mold, pack the risotto. Top with the calamari rings and clams. Place scallops on the plate, drizzle velouté over scallops and top of risotto and calamari. Using two spoons, make quenelles from the pistachio cilantro mixture.

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