Polipo alla Pignata
I have made many an ode to octopus and feel as though my time in Puglia has been all about the discovery of this highly intelligent creature and all of the yummy ways to prepare it. It manifests itself in so many different ways on the plate in this region and I am forever delighted to find it on a menu or at my own table.
Polipo alla pignata is an octopus stew and is a very traditional pugliese preparation of octopus. It is stewed in its own juices with tomatoes, leeks and potatoes, it screams for crusty bread to dunk in the sauce and to clean your plate with. Good hearty meal for blustery November nights.
Polipo alla Pignata
- 2 large octopus, around 1 kg
- 5 potatoes, around 1 kg
- 10 winter tomatoes, or very ripe cherry tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 white onion
- 2 small leeks
- pepper or chili peppers
- half a cup of white wine
- extra virgin olive oil
Peel the potatoes and put then in a bowl of water for a few minutes, then cut them each into eight pieces. Immerse the tomatoes into boiling water for a minute to make it easier to peel them and then cut them into little pieces. Thinly slice the onions into rings, cut the white part of the leeks and chop with the garlic.
Cut the previously cleaned octopus into medium size pieces. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed stove-top casserole, enough to cover the surface. Add the octopus and cook over medium-low heat for thirty minutes.
Add the potatoes and the white wine, stir in. Add the rest of the ingredients and cover the pot, cook for an additional thirty minutes. Check to see if the octopus is cooked by penetrating it with a fork, it should not be tough.
Serve with crusty bread.
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