Spelt cooked in ink with squid and herbs

Serves 4

This isn't a risotto in the true sense of the word but more a sort of British version of Spanish arroz negro. You can use cuttlefish or squid for this dish and you will need to order the little sachets of ink from your fishmonger in advance.

2tbsp rapeseed oil
50g (6 sachets) squid ink (available to order from good fishmonger's)
200g spelt, soaked in cold water for 3-4 hours
1ltr fish stock
120g butter
150g cleaned squid, cut into small, rough 2-3cm squares
1tbsp chopped hedgerow or three-cornered garlic or garlic chives
1tbsp chopped parsley
1tbsp chopped chervil

Heat the rapeseed oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the drained spelt and stir on a low heat for a minute or so, without allowing it to colour.

Add the squid ink, stir well, then slowly add the stock, a ladle or two at a time, ensuring that all the liquid has been absorbed before adding more, stirring constantly.

When the spelt is tender and cooked, stir in two-thirds of the butter and a little more of the stock if the risotto seems a bit too dry; the consistency should be wet but not runny. Meanwhile, heat a heavy frying pan with the rest of the butter and cook the squid on a high heat for a minute or so, then stir in the herbs.

To serve, spoon the spelt on to warmed serving plates and scatter the squid over.

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