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OCTOPUS AND PASTA BAKE

(Htapodi me makaronaki)


INGREDIENTS:



METHOD:

1. Rinse the octopuses well, making sure that there is no sand left in the suckers. Cut the octopuses into large cubes using a sharp knife and place the pieces in a heavy pan over a low heat. Cook gently; they will produce some liquid, the colour of the flesh will change and they will eventually become bright scarlet. Keep turning the pieces of octopus with a wooden spatula until all the liquid has evaporated.

2. Add the olive oil to the pan and saute the octopus pieces for 4-5 minutes. Add the onions to the pan and cook for a further 4-5 minutes, stirring them constantly until they start to turn golden.

3. Stir in the garlic, chilli, bay leaf, oregano, cinnamon stick and allspice, if using. As soon as the garlic becomes aromatic, pour in the wine and let it bubble and evaporate for a couple of minutes.

4 . Pour in the diluted tomato puree, add some black pepper, cover and cook gently for 1- 1/2 hours or until the octopus is perfectly soft. Stir occasionally and add a little hot water if needed. The dish can be prepared up to this stage well in advance of serving.

5 . Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. Bring the octopus mixture to the boil, add the boiling water and stir in the dried pasta. Tip the mixture into a large roasting dish and level the surface. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little hot water if the mixture starts to look dry. Sprinkle the parsley on top, if using, and serve.

Cooking octopus :  Do not add salt to octopus as it makes it tough and indigestible. The octopus mixture can be cooked in a pressure cooker, if you prefer. It will take 20 minutes

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