Stewed Octopus with pasta
I have been meeting the most wonderful people from all over the world at the Onion Athens‘ cooking workshops over the past few months. I adore sharing traditional Greek recipes just as much as learning participants favorites too. Just last week Garry and Cindy mentioned how they would love to try out some seafood recipes while staying in Athens and that gave me the push I needed to finally share this wonderful recipe for tender, slow cooked octopus and pasta.
Traditionally all octopus needs is to be left to slowly simmer in an empty pot for about an hour to release it’s aromatic, flavorful juices. Resist the urge to add water as it will turn hard and chewy. Just leave it on it’s own as there is no chance of it burning at a low temperature. the combination of the rich flavor with short cut pasta, traditionally called “kofto” (κοφτό) makes it a favorite with children too. Mine love it, which is very fortunate as it also very rich in iron and B12. If fresh octopus is not available, frozen will be fine. Some Greeks will even freeze it as they swear it tenderizes it a bit more.
- 1 octopus, approx. 1,5 kilos, beak and and eyes removed
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 allspice berries
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- salt and pepper
- 350 gr. pasta, ditali or “kofto”
Put the whole octopus in a pot, cover and set over a low heat to braise for about 1 hour until soft. Boil the pasta in salted water for half the recommended cooking time and drain. Wash out the pasta pot, dry it and set it over a medium heat. Add the oil then gently cook the onions for 5′. Add the garlic, allspice, bay leaves and cinnamon. Rub the tomato paste into the oil with a wooden spoon, then add the stewing liquid from the octopus. Chop the octopus into bite sized pieces while bringing the sauce to the boil. Add the pasta and octopus pieces. Season, stir well and simmer gently for 5′-10′ until the pasta is cooked through. Keep some hot water at hand to add little by little, if needed, for the pasta to cook completely.