Paella Negra – Arros negre

Paella Negra (called Arroz Negro in Spanish or Arros Negre in Valencian), is a shocking but delicious rice dish originally from Valencia (eastern Spain), like authentic paella. Where I’m from 🙂

But black?!!! What!!?? This is most people’s expression when they first see the black paella as it’s a color not usually associated with food and at first glance, they can’t guess how fantastic it is. After trying, people totally change their minds. Give it a try!

Why is black paella black?

The black color comes from the ink of squid or cuttlefish. That’s all. But this ink not only gives to this rice dish its spectacular presence but also a delicate sea flavor.

What is paella negra?

Paella negra
Surprising arros negre

As you will see, squid ink paella is a variation of seafood paella, with fewer ingredients but with all the flavor and a different overtone.

Furthermore, this rice dish comes with 2 extras:

  • Cuttlefish ink (the rice type is not black)
  • Alioli (optional but desirable)

Alioli (all i oli in Valencian) means garlic and oil (preferably olive oil), the two main ingredients of this sauce (and egg optionally). As a result, it can be a complement to many dishes, so it’s easily found along with fish, meat, pasta, rice…

Finally, it is worth to mention that the rice is white (medium-grain paella or bomba rice), you may want to use the same rice you would use on another authentic paella.

Now you will be cooking a typical arros negre with aioli 🙂

Paella negra recipe

Then, here you have an authentic Spanish paella negra recipe, the real way we make it in Valencia.

🥘 Difficulty: Easy
🥘 Serves: 4
🥘 Nutrition: 380 Kcal

Paella Negra Ingredients

  • 400g paella rice
  • 500g cuttlefish or squid
  • 150g peeled shrimps (optional)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 tomatoes (or 200g of canned grated tomato)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 800g of fish/seafood stock

How to make paella negra?

🥘Time needed: 45 minutes.

In order to cook this seafood paella negra, just follow the easy steps, and you won’t have problems to make a superb Black Paella With Squid and Shrimp. In my opinion, it is the best paella negra recipe because it follows the traditional method but easing the process to make doable for everyone. Just be careful with the ink and enjoy it.

🥘 Prep time: 20′
🥘 Cooking time: 25′

  1. Peel and chop onion and cloves of garlic. Wash, chop and remove seeds from peppers; peel, chop and remove seeds from tomatoes.
  2. Clean the cuttlefish. Save its ink bags
  3. Heat the oil in a pan or a paella. Medium heating
  4. Add the garlic and onion and sauté. Very finely chop the garlic and finely the onion
  5. Put in the pepper. Sauté
  6. Add the cuttlefish. Chopped to small pieces. Sauté for a little while
  7. Pour the grated tomato. Sauté
  8. Pour over the rice and stir. Sauté
  9. Mix the ink with a little bit of stock and pour it to the paella.Then, pour the rest
  10. Pour the stock (not everything, save a bit). Try the stock and add more salt if desired.
  11. Mix the ink with the stock left and pour it. Bring the stock to a boil (mid-max heating), stir for the last time. Wait until the liquid is just evaporated (usually around 15 min)
  12. Turn the heat to the minimum. Cover the paella and wait for 15 min more
  13. Turn off the heating and wait 5 more minutes. Serve the rice with the alioli aside and enjoy it!
paella negra

Pro tip – As for the majority of the Spanish rice dishes I’m sharing here, it’s important the rice layer ends up like 1cm deep, not more.

How to extract the ink from the squid?

Squid ink is used by many chefs to add more flavor to their recipes. If you are lucky enough to find squid ink in a gourmet market, you will have to pay a considerable price for it.

However, you also can extract the ink in your own kitchen, without additional price, it only takes a little patience. In contrast, A few drops added to the food will be enough to add color and flavor, especially to dishes such as rice and pasta.

The ink bag is in the bowels of the squid. It resembles a black vein and is easily removed with the nails. To remove the ink, break the bag and put it in a spoonful of water, wine, vinegar or other cooking liquid.

Furthermore, squid ink does not cause stains, but it’s particularly unpleasant when impregnated under nails. So, I would wear gloves when handling, an apron and protect porous surfaces, such as the cutting board.

Finally, behind the eyes you’ll also find a small amount of squid ink, don’t waste it.

Now, you know all the secrets to making a delicious Black Paella With Squid and Shrimp

Where to buy squid ink for paella?

Where can you get squid or cuttlefish ink to make paella a la negra? Well, in Spain it is quite easy to find it fresh in fishmongeries or fish shops/markets or even in supermarkets but I guess that can be difficult to be found abroad.

Besides this, squid or cuttlefish ink can be found this ways:

Squid ink paella base broth
Buy Squid ink base broth from Amazon UK – click to see
Buy Cuttlefish ink from Amazon UK – click to see

Paella Negra FAQ

  • How to cook paella negra1. Peel and chop onion and cloves of garlic. Wash, chop and remove seeds from peppers; peel, chop and remove seeds from tomatoes.
    2. Clean the cuttlefish. Save its ink bags
    3. Heat the oil in a pan or a paella. Medium heating
    4. Add the garlic and onion and sauté. Very finely chop the garlic and finely the onion
    5. Put in the pepper. Sauté
    6. Add the cuttlefish. Chopped to small pieces. Sauté for a little while

    Find out the full authentic method and learn how to make paella negra <<

  • Why is black paella black?The black color comes from the ink of squid or cuttlefish. That’s all. But this ink not only gives to this rice dish its spectacular presence but also a delicate sea flavor. Learn here all the Spanish black paella secrets

  • Where to buy squid ink for paella?Where can I get squid ink to make paella a la negra? Well, in Spain it is quite easy to find it in fishmongeries or fish shops/markets or even in supermarkets but I guess that can be difficult to be found abroad. Besides this, squid or cuttlefish ink can be found “canned” or even in a commercial base broth. You can find both versions for squid ink paella here

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