Spaghetti con Polpo in Purgatorio (Italian Name of the Recipe)

Yield: Servings 6


¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pot
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup Gaeta or other black brine-cured olives, pitted
1 pound spaghetti
2 big onions, thinly cut (approximately four cups)
2 cleaned octopuses (about 2½ pounds total)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley


  1. Heat 6 tablespoons of the olive oil in a moderate-sized (4-to-6-
    quart) deep cooking pan or Dutch oven using low heat. Spread the
    onion slices over the bottom of the pan, and lay the octopuses on
    top. Spread the olives over the octopuses, cover the pan, and allow
    the octopuses to heat slowly, releasing their liquid, and beginning to
    cook in it.
  2. After around sixty minutes, uncover the pan and check to see that
    there is plenty of octopus liquid in the pan. If it appears dry, put in 1
    cup of water at a time. This recipe should yield 2 cups of sauce
    when the octopuses are done. Carry on the covered slow cooking for one more hour, until the octopuses are super soft. Begin testing for doneness after 1¾ hours: stick the tines of a fork in the thickest part of each octopus; when the fork slides out easily, the meat is done.
  1. Take the octopuses from the pot, and allow them to cool a little. To
    make a meaty octopus sauce: cut both octopuses into ¾-inch
    chunks, skin and all (or you can leave the octopuses whole for
    serving). Measure the liquid rest of the in the deep cooking pan.
    Again, you should have about 2 cups total. If the volume is greater,
    return the juices to the deep cooking pan and boil to reduce them.
    Place the cut octopus meat and the juices in the frying pan for
    dressing the pasta.
  2. In the meantime, bring a big pot of salted water to its boiling point
    for the pasta. Put in the spaghetti. As the spaghetti cooks, bring the
    octopus meat and sauce in the frying pan to a rapid simmer; taste,
    and put in ¼ teaspoon salt if required (octopus is naturally salty).
    Mix in the parsley. Take the spaghetti using tongs and move directly
    to the sauce. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce, putting in a
    splash of pasta water if it appears dry. Remove the heat, sprinkle
    over the rest of the 2 tablespoons olive oil, and toss once more.
    Heap the spaghetti into warm bowls, ensuring each portion gets
    plenty of octopus pieces, and serve instantly.