Finally, the recipes for desperate housewares are back, but today we want to go further and provide you with the dish that will make you the undisputed heroes of Christmas. You, dear desperate housewives, for Christmas Eve you will make stewed octopus, a delicious fish dish, an icon of high-level home cooking.
Not that the recipe for stewed octopus is difficult, but legends circulate about how to make octopus tender, the octopus topic is titillating, it represents a challenge, but don’t worry, this year you will serve a dish of champions and we will explain each trick to make no mistake.
How long does it take to make stewed octopus?
It takes at least 3 hours of your life to make stewed baby octopus, so take it easy. But the beauty is that you can also prepare them in advance and then heat them the next day. This is advice that seems to put out the sacred kitchen fire, but let them sit in the gravy overnight and they’ll still be good, trust me.
Let’s move on to the pea controversy. Some wear them and those who do not. We do not put them, the dish without peas is certainly less sweet, but purer if we talk about sea flavors. Do as you like: if you want to put them, use dried peas, put them to soak, boil them and then add them 20 minutes from the end of cooking, otherwise they will mash.
Well, that said, put on your apron and get ready to make a great Christmas dish!
Ingredients and doses to make a stewed baby octopus with tomato sauce
- 2 kg of baby octopus
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 carrot
- 1 piece of celery
- 1 small onion
- 500 ml of good tomato sauce, that of the grandmother
- 3 glasses of dry white wine
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- optional: a little chili powder if you enjoy the spiciness
How to prepare stewed baby octopus with tomato sauce
Wash the octopus well, then clean them. It’s a hassle, but the whole difficulty of the recipe lies here, the rest is a breeze.
Grab the head and turn it upside down like a glove, remove the entrails by tearing off cleanly.
Then take a knife and make an incision near the eyes, remove the beak, and cut off the eyes, pushing the blade a little deeper. Be careful because you are working on little meat and you risk decapitating the baby octopus and we want them whole instead. If you look bad, cut off your head and eyes. But it’s not difficult, don’t worry.
Well, now let’s move on to the pot. You need a nice tough, heavy pot that conducts heat constantly and uniformly. For this type of stews and stews we use the Le Creuset casserole, you can find it on Amazon and it is practically indestructible. It is a bit heavy to handle, but you can also put it in the oven. If you put the food on low heat, you can prepare amazing dishes such as stews and braises without resorting to cooking on the grill. Of course, it is not a gift, but it is a purchase that lasts a lifetime.
Well, after the announcement, put 8 tablespoons of oil in the pot, turn on the stove and brown the garlic cut into large slices. 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely chop the carrot, onion, and celery, then toss in the pot and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon.
Well, the time has come to throw the baby octopus into the mix, let them brown slowly for 3-4 minutes, then taste the wine and pour it into 3 glasses, put the lid on and cook for 40 minutes.
Now and then check that they do not burn or stick, but the beauty of Le Creuset pans is that the food does not stick, as long as there is a minimum of liquid or oil.
How long should the baby octopus cook?
After 40 minutes, remove the lid, add the tomato puree, season with a drizzle of pepper and cook for another 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Remember that the secret is slow cooking, use the smaller stove and cook slowly, with the lid on.
Stir from time to time.
20 minutes from the end of cooking, taste season with salt and pepper if necessary, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and bring to the end of cooking.
And here are the stewed octopus ready: as you have seen, the recipe is elementary, but it will take you an entire afternoon to buy, clean, and cook. It is an excellent opportunity to finish that book that you use as a doorstop.
Is it worth it? You can bet on it until the last tentacle! Now we have to resolve two or three questions.
What to pair with the stewed baby octopus?
A classic combination is with polenta, to go and impregnate it with the thick sauce, which lends itself very well. If you don’t like polenta, prepare a simple risotto with butter and saffron and you will make a unique dream dish.
Can the pressure cooker be used to cook baby octopus?
Yes, it can, no one forbids it, but to make stewed octopus you have to cook them in several stages, first in wine and then in tomato sauce. The pressure cooker is fine for octopus or if you want to make a baby octopus salad, but for stewing it is not the best solution. The baby octopus must stew slowly for a long time, but this does not mean that you have to stay over the stove to check every second: in the meantime, you can read or engage in other activities, just take a look now and then. If the cooking is for salads and appetizers then yes, the pressure cooker is fantastic, but for this recipe, the answer is no!
Stewed octopus with peas: how to do it
If you want to add peas to the stew, use dry or fresh ones. Soak the buckets and then boil them for 1 hour with water, salt, and 1/4 onion. Add the peas to the octopus at 20 minutes of the end of cooking, you do not need to overcook them.
Stewed octopus with potatoes: how to do it
See above: boil the potatoes for 15 minutes, you don’t have to cook them at all. Drain and then peel and cut the potatoes into 4 pieces. Be careful not to make them too small or they become crushed. Throw them into the stewed octopus when 15 are left at the end of cooking. The most suitable potatoes are hard, non-crumbly ones, such as Avezzano potatoes or mountain potatoes, such as Trentino potatoes. For the basic recipe we have given you, with 2 kilos of baby octopus, calculate 600 grams of potatoes. The potato in this sauce must add a sweet and consistent touch, but it is not the protagonist, so don’t add too many.
Which wine to pair with the stewed baby octopus with tomato sauce?
If you are in the mood for cocktails, the Martini Dry is always welcome.