Purpetielli in Umido


In Naples octopus are called purpetielli and are cooked in a variety of ways. This simple recipe depends on using very small octopus that are braised in a flavorful tomato sauce. The best place to find baby octopus in Boston is in Chinatown.

  • 1 1/2 lb. very small octopus
  • 4 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 C. tomatoes, skinned, seeded, chopped or tomato sauce
  • 1 small glass white wine or white vermouth
  • 2 T. capers
  • 1 hot red pepper, finely chopped or 1/2 tsp. dried hot pepperflakes
  • 2 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped rosemary, marjoram, oregano
  • 2 T. chopped parsley
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Rinse the octopus in cold water.

Heat the OO in a saucepan and sauté the onions, until transparent. Add the garlic and tomatoes, and cook for a few minutes. Turn the heat up and add the octopus, stir well and after 2 minutes pour in the wine and the herbs, cover and turn the heat down. Simmer gently until the octopus is cooked. Test the octopus with the tip of a kitchen knife. It should be very tender, if it is still al dente, simmer longer.

Before serving add lemon juice and parsley. Season with S & P, if needed.

Serve hot with bread for dunking.

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