Despite my birth and early years in Japan, octopus is not something that was frequently served on our family table when I was growing up. However, it really started to grow on me when I realized what a wonderful and unique source of nutrition it can be once I started abiding by Orthodox Christian fasting traditions, and found myself in extended almost-vegan periods throughout the year (seafood that isn’t fish is exempt from the no meat/fish rule, so octopus can be eaten throughout the year). Not to mention, seeing octopus in the table is certainly a conversation starter where I live!
1 package of Panna Pesca frozen whole (cleaned) octopus
1 28oz can tomatoes
Oil/fat to saute onions
5-6 cloves garlic (or more!)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves (not pictured)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (not pictured)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Flat leaf parsley
Pasta for serving (ditalini is pictured)
Slice the onions thinly and saute in a large pan with fat of choice (or water, to keep it oil-free).
Slice the octopus tentacles and body in roughly 2-inch sections.
Peel the garlic and put garlic and canned tomatoes in a blender and briefly puree.
Once the onions are translucent, add the puree mixture, salt, paprika, cayenne, bay leaves, and vinegar. Bring to a simmer, then add sliced octopus.
Return to a simmer, then cover and simmer on low heat until octopus is tender, roughly 30 minutes. Stir from time to time and add water as necessary if the sauce seems too dry. It should be like a slightly watery pasta sauce, as it will thicken a bit once it cools. Once finished, remove from heat and stir in fresh parsley, to taste (I use about a cup of chopped parsley).
Once the stewed octopus is finished, cook pasta, rice, etc as you choose. Spoon sauce and octopus over individual plates of pasta.🦑🍝