Italy is known for its love of seafood, with its enviably long coastline providing a bounty of fresh produce. As this collection of cuttlefish recipes demonstrates, it is a particular favourite of our Italian chefs thanks to its versatility, texture and a wonderfully subtle flavour that is similar to squid. Like some other cephalopods, cuttlefish require tenderising in order to break down their chewy, tough fibres. Take a look at our guide for how to sous-vide cuttlefish for one way to achieve a delicate, tender texture. Another option is a bain-marie, as used by Daniele Usai for his beautiful Cuttlefish with peas recipe.
Although messy to prep at home, it is well worth buying whole cuttlefish in order to access the ink sack found inside. Cuttlefish ink adds a deep black sheen and rich, complex flavour when added to recipes, whether stirred through risottos or mixed into flour to create dramatic home-made pasta. Cristina Bowerman paints serving plates with sweeping brushstrokes of cuttlefish ink for her delicious Cuttlefish spaghetti, ink and orange recipe, while Teresa Buongiorno’s Tagliolini with cuttlefish ink ragu sees the ink poured straight into the pasta sauce for a dramatic black finish.
For a more creative use of cuttlefish, try Mauro Uliassi’s clever starter, Tagliatelle of cuttlefish with nori pesto, where the cuttlefish is cooked sous-vide for several hours, then thinly sliced to resemble tagliatelle.