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Black Squid Ink Paella (Arroz Negro)

Black Squid In Paella - Arroz Negro

Even though it doesn't contain Spanish Chorizo, this is one of the paella greats, so extraordinary that it eclipses most other paellas. It is almost jet black—colored and flavored by squid ink—and filled with tidbits of squid, shrimp and monkfish. A visually stunning dish that wows everyone who tries it.

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins | Serves: 6-8 | Difficulty: Medium


  • ½ lb medium shrimp, shelled
  • ½ lb monkfish, grouper, or other firm-fleshed fish, skin removed and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 lbs small cleaned squid (including tentacles), cut into ½-inch rings and tentacles halved lengthwise
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 6 packets squid ink 4-grams each
  • 6 cups clam juice or fish broth
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sweet Spanish smoked paprika
  • 3 cups imported Spanish or Arborio short-grain rice
  • 4 frozen artichoke hearts in quarters
  • 1 large pimiento, cut in ½-inch strips
  • 2 lemons cut into wedges


Sprinkle the shrimp, monkfish and squid with salt and let sit 10 minutes at room temperature. Mash half of the minced garlic, parsley and ¼ teaspoon salt into a paste in a mortar or mini-processor. Stir in the squid ink and reserve.

Combine the clam juice with the saffron and lemon juice. Keep hot over a low heat.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a paella pan measuring 17-18 inches. Sauté the shrimp, monkfish and squid over high heat for 1-2 minutes (they should not be fully cooked). Remove to a warm platter. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, the onion and red peppers and sauté over medium-high heat until the onion is lightly browned. Stir in the tomatoes and remaining minced garlic, sauté 1-2 minutes, then stir in the smoked paprika. Add the rice and coat well with the pan mixture. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the mortar mixture of garlic & parsley and the artichokes, taste for salt. Continue to boil, stirring and rotating the pan occasionally for about 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved shrimp, monkfish, squid and any juices from the platter. Boil until the rice is no longer soupy but sufficient liquid remains to continue cooking the rice—about 5 minutes.

Arrange the pimiento strips attractively over the rice. Cook uncovered until the rice is almost al dente, about 10-12 more minutes. Remove to a warm spot, cover with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes or until the rice is cooked to taste. Return the paella over high heat and cook, without stirring until a crust of rice forms at the bottom of the pan, usually only 1-2 minutes. This will form the socarrat, the thin layer of rice on the bottom of the pan that becomes brown and crusty. Arrange lemon wedges around the edge of the pan before serving.

Source: Adapted from Penelope Casas