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Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro)3.88 out of 50 based on 8 voters.


Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 1 

 

Preparation: 15 mins
Cooking: 1 1/2 hours    
Difficulty: Easy

This recipe is very practical because you can eat the octopus as it is shown in the last picture of the photograph sequence or you can use the octopus in tomato sauce to top spaghetti; both ways are fine and delicious to eat. Octopus is very common on the tables of the countries facing the mediterranean, but unfortunately it is underestimated in the northern part of Europe, especially where I live (Scotland); when I mention octopus to people they look at me if I am an alien! Go for it and enjoy this with a nice glass of chilled white wine.
 

SERVES 4  

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 2

Ingredients (Metric & Imperial measurements): 

  • 1.5 Kg (3.3 lb) Octopus (see note 1)
  • 1 Small onion (cut in discs)
  • 1 Carrot (cut in 4 pieces)
  • 1 Celery stick with some leaves
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz) Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Clove of garlic
  • 6 Sun dried tomatoes
  • 25 g (1 oz) Capers (see note 2)
  • 60 g (2 1/2 oz) Black olives (pitted)
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) Chopped tomatoes
  • 15 ml (1 tbs) Red wine vinegar
  • 4 g (1 tsp) Sugar
  • Salt and black pepper for seasoning (plus some mixed peppercorns)

 

Ingredients (U.S. measurements): 

  • 53 ounces (3 pounds 5 ounces) Octopus (see note 1)
  • 1 Small onion (cut in discs)
  • 1 Carrot (cut in 4 pieces)
  • 1 Celery stick with some leaves
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Clove of garlic
  • 6 Sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 ounce Capers (see note 2)
  • 2 1/2 ounces Black olives (pitted)
  • 21 ounces (1 pound 5 ounces) Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • Salt and black pepper for seasoning (plus some mixed peppercorns)

 

Note 1: in this recipe I didn't manage to buy a 1.5 Kg (3 pounds 5 ounces) octopus because it was not available at the fish counter, so I decided to use a couple of octopuses instead, one weighing 900 g (2 pounds) and the other one 600 g (1 pound 5 ounces). Ask the fishmonger to clean the octopus so that at home you only need to give it a good rinse under fresh water. Anyway, I suggest you check “octopus preparation”, featured in the top tips section of the website, where you can find some good tips on how to clean an octopus and how to tenderise its meat.

 

Note 2: capers are usually preserved in vinegar or salt so, before putting then into the pan, rinse the capers under fresh running water and then pat them dry using kitchen paper.

 

Directions: 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 3

To start, put the sun dried tomatoes in a little tray filled with cold water. Let them soak for a bit until they soften (I would say 30-40 minutes).

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 4

Take a big pot, fill it with cold water and add the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, some mixed peppercorns. Also add a couple of pinches of salt and then bring it to the boil.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 5

Meanwhile, take the sun dried tomatoes out of the water, pat them dry using kitchen paper and roughly chop them together with the clove of garlic.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 6

When the water in the pot starts boiling, put the octopus into the pot and boil until the octopus is tender. A rough guide is to boil for 1 hour per kilogram of octopus, but this generally applies only if you have properly tenderised the octopus meat before boiling. To tenderise the octopus, check “octopus preparation”, featured in the top tips section of the website.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 7

This photograph shows the octopus after about 45 minutes boiling.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 8

Halfway through the boiling time you can turn the octopus over and continue boiling. When you think it is time to remove the octopus from the pot, try to cut one of the tentacles with a knife. If the tentacle is tender and easy to cut, then turn the cooker off and let the octopus cool down in its own water.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 9

During the boiling, the octopus skin will turn to a purple colour. Remove the main loose bits with your hands, in order to uncover most of the white meat. Then, cut the octopus in pieces, roughly 3 cm (1 1/4") long.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 10

Meanwhile, you should have previously chopped the sun dried tomatoes and the garlic together. Get them ready for the next stage.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 11

Put the olive oil into the pan and heat it on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the sun dried tomatoes and garlic. Sweat them off for about 3 minutes or until the garlic starts changing its colour.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 12

Next, add the olives and capers.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 13

Stir and continue cooking for a minute or so.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 14

Now, add the chopped tomatoes.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 15

Stir, bring it back to the boil and cook for 5 minutes.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 16

Then, turn the heat down to low and season with salt.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 17

Season with ground black pepper.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 18

Add the red wine vinegar.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 19

Add the sugar.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 20

Stir and continue cooking for about 15 minutes to reduce the sauce.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 21

Next, put the cut pieces of octopus into the pan.

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 22

Bring everything back to simmer point, cook for a couple of minutes and that's it! 

 

Octopus in tomato sauce (Polpo in salsa di pomodoro) | Seafood recipes WebPhoto 23

Now, serve the octopus with some slices of crusty rustic bread or, even better, use the sauce as spaghetti sauce; you will be surprised how good it will be.

 

Buon appetito! 

 

 

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