Linguine piccanti con polpo e olive: Spicy linguine with octopus and olives

Octopus is so easy to find, it’s too bad people don’t cook with it more. You can buy it fresh at fish stores or frozen at Asian markets. For this recipe, I prefer small baby octopus that are defrosted in advance of cooking. The wine that is added to the sauce gives the pasta a nice stained look.

Ingredients and Directions:

Serves 4.

  • Salt
  • 2 pounds octopus, cleaned or substitute frozen baby octopus
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Hot read chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 pound good-quality linguine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Crusty bread

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt, 2 minced cloves of garlic and the octopus. Reduce the heat, and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the octopus feels tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside. When cool enough to handle, cut the octopus into bite sized pieces.

In a skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the remaining minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, and sauté for about 1 minute. Stir in the octopus and the olives, and season with salt and pepper. Add the wine, and cook for 5 minutes, or until half the liquid evaporates. Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the pasta, and cook until al dente (30 seconds less than the package direction). Drain the pasta, and add it to the skillet. Add the parsley, and toss over heat for 30 seconds. Serve drizzled with high quality olive oil and a little more fresh parsley.

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