This recipe was adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Babbo Cookbook, from one of my favorite chefs, Mario Batali. He used bavette, a thin, ribbon-shaped pasta, but I substituted spaghetti instead because it was all I had handy. He also used jalapeÃ±o pesto, but I doubled the amount of red chili flakes from what I would normally add to give it that kick without the hard work. I did make my own basic tomato sauce though, because, well, I usually do.
If you can’t find fresh baby octopuses, you can certainly used the frozen ones. Those are already cleaned. If you buy the fresh ones, all you have to do to clean them is to turn the head inside out and wash the entrails. Then pull out the eyes and remove the mouth which is found at the center of the octopus where the tentacles meet the head and body. It’s as easy as cleaning fresh squid. If you can only find large octopus, cook that longer until it’s tender and just slice it in smaller pieces before tossing with the pasta.
2 pounds of baby octopuses, cleaned, washed, drained
1 bundle of spaghetti
2 cups basic tomato sauce
12 fresh mint leaves
3 tbsps red wine vinegar
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
red chili flakes
olive oil, salt, pepper
1. Using a large pot, cook pasta al dente in boiling salted water for about 8 minutes. Remove and drain. Set aside. You will cook the pasta more later.
2. While cooking the pasta, cook the octopuses. In a large saucepot, combine octopuses with the red wine vinegar and just enough water to cover. Cook uncovered and immediately remove from heat as soon as the octopuses change color. Drain and set aside to let cool.
3. In a large skillet, heat some olive oil. SautÃ© the garlic until golden brown. Add the tomato sauce and chili flakes and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes. Add the octopuses and the pasta. Toss over high heat for about a minute with the mint leaves. Season with salt and pepper.