Octopus in tomato sauce with capers and black olives

main courses
Time 1h30m Difficulty High Serves 4
  • 1 1/4 lbs octopus
  • 18 oz canned cherry tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 fresh hot chili
  • 1 tablespoon of Pantelleria capers
  • 2 tablespoons of Gaeta olives
  • 4 slices of French bread (baguette)

First clean each octopus (if not already cleaned when bought), open up the head at the side and remove the innards. Then remove the eyes and beak, wash each octopus very well under running water to remove any sand residue, especially between the suction cups of the tentacles. Clean the inside of the head very well which will be used for the filling. Before starting cooking, fill the head of each octopus with a few whole olives, parsley, two cloves of garlic, half the capers and close with one or two toothpicks; then put the octopus to cook head down in a large saucepan with a little oil, fresh chili pepper, ground pepper, and a little chopped garlic; when the octopus are well browned, lower the heat and cook for about 30 minutes. With this cooking method, the skin of the octopus tends to remain attached, without coming undone.
In the meantime, in another saucepan, heat a little oil and sauté 2/3 chopped garlic clove, add the cherry tomatoes and salt lightly. Cook for about 20 minutes, crushing them to lose water. After the initial cooking time for the octopus, when it is tender, add the remaining olives and capers and a handful of chopped parsley; then about halfway through cooking the tomatoes add them to the octopus and continue cooking for another 20/25 minutes. At this point prepare the toasted bread: cut the slices of bread diagonally and toast them in the oven at 350°F for 5/7 minutes. Serve the octopus in a deep dish, covered with its sauce, accompanied with the slices of toasted bread.