Spicy Calamari & Sweetcorn Risotto


Is there anything better than spicy and sweet?

Tajín seasoning and chile peppers give calamari a kick, and the smooth sweetcorn and cilantro cool it down. It's an interesting combination of familiar, Mexican-inspired flavors, but presented with a classic Italian rice dish, and roasted calamari. 

Yes, in this recipe the calamari rings are oven-roasted! It's not the most common preparation, but incredibly quick and easy to cook in batches as needed. 



2.5 lb. Calamari Rings

½ cup tajín seasoning

1 tbsp. black pepper

¾ cup chile peppers, thin sliced

¾ cup fire-roasted corn kernels

9 oz. cotija cheese, crumbled

12 each fresh cilantro sprig

Sweet Corn Risotto:

½ cup olive oil

1 cup shallot, minced

4 cups arborio rice

2 cups white wine, dry

1 ½ tsp. salt

1¼ gal. vegetable stock, steaming hot

2 cups fire-roasted corn kernels, partially pureed

½ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

½ cup butter, salted, cut into pieces



Risotto: In heavy bottomed large rondeau, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté for 6-8 minutes. Add rice and stir well to coat with oil. Sauté until rice becomes translucent around edges, about 5 minutes. Add wine and salt. Sauté until wine is completely evaporated. Reduce heat to medium-low and add hot broth in 6-oz. ladle increments, stirring constantly and allowing liquid to absorb fully before adding more, until rice is al dente and surrounded by fluid, about 25-35 minutes. You may not need all stock, the grains should be nearly tender and finished texture should be more of a liquid than solid. Remove from heat and stir in corn puree, cilantro and butter.

Cook: Season 3 oz. calamari rings with 2 tsp. Tajín and ¼ tsp. black pepper and stir to evenly coat. Place rings on wire rack over sheet pan, coated with non-stick spray, and roast in preheated 400°F convection oven for 4-5 minutes.

Assemble: Serve 1½ cups hot risotto topped with roasted calamari rings, 1 ½ tbsp. crumbled cheese, 1 tbsp. each: pepper slices and roasted corn kernels. Garnish with a cilantro sprig and serve immediately.