Friday 7 February 2020

Chef Luca Landi, from the restaurant Lunasia at the Hotel Plaza e de Russie in Viareggio, pays homage to the Carnival, the most important event in the calendar of the Versilian city, with his “Risotto in maschera seppie e Barbarossa” (risotto with a cuttlefish mask and beetroot), a dish created in honour of King Burlamacco.

With his black and white and red-lozenged clothes, Burlamacco, the official mascot of the Viareggio carnival, inspired the Michelin-starred chef to create this special recipe, ideally suited to the occasion. The dish will appear on an extra page of Lunasia’s menu for the duration of the Carnival period, from 1 to 25 February.

With a strong, decisive flavour, the dish mimics the colours of Burlamacco’s costume. The curls of cuttlefish gleam like the stars on his tunic and the two creams of cuttlefish and beetroot create an intriguing contrast of flavours. But that’s not all. With this dish the chef wanted to pay tribute to a historic Tuscan recipe, typical of the Livornese coast.

Ingredients and preparation for 6 people:

Risotto (480g)

Cuttlefish (1kg)

Beetroot (300g)

Tomato purée (30g)

White wine 


Vegetable stock (2 litres)

Fish paste

Dried kombu

Garlic, sage, chilli, white onion, parsley

Gut the cuttlefish, separating head, fins, the black ink sack, the entrails and the body into separate containers.

How to prepare the cuttlefish ink cream

Dry out a base of garlic, sage and chilli. Add the cuttlefish entrails and skin, a touch of tomato purée, and flavour with white wine and vinegar. Add the cuttlefish ink obtained from gutting; add the stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Whip and liquify 4 grams of fish paste for every 100 grams of ink used, stand the black cream on a sheet of acetate paper, cut them into the shape of masks and. Remove from the acetate paper and put in the fridge. 

How to prepare the cuttlefish cream

Chop up a bit of white onion, a touch of garlic and a few parsley leaves. Add the cuttlefish heads and let them stew. Pour in some white wine and bring to the boil with vegetable stock. Adjust the balance and mix with extra virgin olive oil in a blender.

Cuttlefish Slices

Lay the gutted cuttlefish bodies on top of each other, descaled and dried. Freeze and slice thinly with the aid of a meat slicer, then lay the slices on a sheet of baking paper. 

Beetroot Cream

Cover the beetroot with salt and cook them in the oven at 150°C for 40 minutes, until they reach 85°C inside. Shake the salt off them, peel, and mix with extra virgin olive oil and a few drops of white vinegar, checking the balance of flavours. Keep the peel and let it dry: once dried, stir it until it becomes a fine powder.

The Risotto

Make a base of white onion with oil and a knob of butter, and toast the rice grains. Flavour with white wine. Bring to the boil with a pre-prepared broth of cuttlefish bones and a few leaves of dried kombu. Adjust the flavours and cook until creamy, with extra virgin olive oil and parmesan.


Once brought to the boil, spoon a little bit of beetroot cream and cuttlefish cream onto a plate, cover it with the risotto, and embellish with the cuttlefish cuts. Garnish with some leaves of young beetroot and the dried beetroot powder. Finish by placing the masks on the risotto and letting them melt slightly with its heat.

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