All too often, octopus becomes rubbery when cooked and thus intimidates those trying to prepare the cephalopod at home. Massimiliano Conti's method for his famed baby octopus stew in spicy tomato broth involves a simple braise that ensures an impressively tender outcome.
The following recipe can be used for calamari or other types of seafood or even meats, but you will need adjusting cooking times according to the type of fish/meat you are cooking. Conti suggests a Monica di Sardegna - a Sardinian wine, of course - as a pairing for the dish.
Prupisceddu in Umidu (Baby Octopus Stew)
serves 4 people as an appetizer
2 lbs. baby octopus
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp. dry white wine
2 cloves garlic, smashed
¼ medium onion, chopped
1 pinch chili flakes
1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
¼ lb. of fresh stewed tomatoes or canned tomatoes
2 leaves of fresh basil
Clean the octopuses by rinsing them with running water. Set aside.
In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat and add the garlic, onion, and half
of the parsley. Cook until the onion is translucent and then add the octopus, mixing well. Increase the heat to high and add the wine. When the alcohol has evaporated, lower the
heat, and let the octopus simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, basil leaves, and chili flakes and cover the pan with a lid, letting it cook over a medium-low heat for 35-40 minutes or until the octopus is fork-tender. After cooking, let the stew sit covered for a few minutes, then sprinkle with the rest of the chopped parsley and serve in hot bowls.