Octopus Cooked Ossobuco-style

Octopus Cooked Ossobuco-style

With its firm texture, octopus lends itself perfectly to the long slow braise that makes traditional ossobuco so delicious and fall apart tender. Large ‘hands’ of octopus tentacles can be cooked this way as well: cut them into large bite-sized pieces and bake for 2½ hours covered then 20 minutes uncovered. Octopus cooked ossobuco-style (or braised in any way) freezes really well, so it’s worth making a double batch to have in the freezer for a quick meal. Serve octopus cooked ossobuco-style with steamed rice or a saffron risotto (see video below) and a glass of a soft red like Mankai from In Praise of Shadows winery in McLaren Vale, a fruity blend of grenache, monastrell, touriga and graciano that’s great with a light chill too depending on the weather.

Serves 2

Ingredients
  • 350g baby octopus
  • Plain flour, for dusting
  • Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 20g butter
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 200g Italian canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup Vegetable Stock, more or less
  • Steamed rice or Risotto Milanese, for serving (see video)

 

Gremolata

  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 lemon
Method
  1. Clean octopus and cut into large bite-sized pieces (quarters, halves or individual tentacles, depending on size).
  2. Pat dry and set aside for about 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C.
  4. Place flour in a plastic bag.
  5. Add octopus and shake to coat well, shaking off the excess.
  6. Heat oil in a small high-sided oven-proof frying pan or flameproof casserole dish over a high heat.
  7. When very hot, add the octopus, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for about 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until well coloured all over.
  8. Remove from pan and set aside. Drain oil from the pan.
  9. Add butter to the pan and melt over medium-high heat.
  10. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly coloured.
  11. Return octopus to the pan, nestling it into the vegetables and spooning some of them over it.
  12. Stir in wine and cook for 3-4 minutes, until it evaporates.
  13. Stir in tomato, then add enough stock to just cover the octopus.
  14. Return to the boil, cover, and place in the oven for 1½ hours.
  15. Uncover and cook for a further 30 minutes.
  16. Meanwhile, make Gremolata: chop parsley and garlic together, grate the zest of about half the lemon over the top and chop it in. Set aside.
  17. Place risotto on plates, top with octopus, spoon over the sauce, sprinkle with gremolata and serve.

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