Polpo in Umido – Stewed Octopus


I know that for some people octopus it’s not very attractive, but it’s one of my favorite ingredients. I ate it in many ways, and I always liked them all. I could never be bored of it.

I love it in salad with potatoes, grilled, in a carpaccio, the octopus “gallego”, “alla luciana”, etc.

Now I’m going to show a very common way to cook it in Italy: stewed simply with tomato and few flavors. You don’t need many things when the main ingredient is already great.

Let’s see!

INGREDIENTS (4 people):

  • 1 octopus of 1-1,2 kg
  • 400-500 ml of a good tomato sauce (you can add also some cherry tomatoes or datterini type, when it’s the good season)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of capers
  • black olives or taggiasche/cailletier type
  • half glass of dry white wine
  • 1 chili
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  1. First of all clean the octopus if your fish seller didn’t do it (remove the ink bag in that case). Then remove the beak and the eyes. Keep the top of the tentacles and then cut the largest part of the tentacles into pieces, not too small and not too big. Cut also the head into pieces.
  2. Take a large pan and heat the extra virgin olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons.
  3. When the oil is hot add the octopus and keep the heat high, until it gets a nice color and the top of the tentacles get curly. The octopus will release its water, it’s normal. Cook at medium heat for 25 minutes.
  4. Then add the white wine and keep the heat high until reduced.
  5. Now add the tomato sauce (I used a sauce made only with cherry tomatoes), the bay leaf and some chili, and let it simmer at lower heat from now for about 40 minutes. Add also the capers and some black olives or taggiasche/cailletier type. Add some salt if needed (to my taste usually it’s not needed, the octopus liquids are already salty).polpo_octopus_6
  6. After that time control if the octopus is properly cooked, then switch off and let it rest 10-15 minutes. Just before serving the fresh parsley, finely chopped. Control if it’s salted enough.
  7. Serve it and enjoy 🙂 don’t forget the bread, you need it to clean all that delicious sauce 🙂



And if some remains, it’s a perfect sauce for a great dish of pasta!



One Comment Add yours

  1. Rowena says:

    If I had a freezer big enough, a good part of it would be occupied with several bags of whole frozen octopus. I always want to buy one when they’re on special at the supermarket!

    Liked by 1 person

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