Recipes

Octopus Puttanesca

A seafood pasta that's got a bit of surf 'n' turf going on
30 Ratings
100% would make again
Octopus Puttanesca
Photo: Lizzie Munro/Tasting Table

As chef and co-owner of three Brooklyn restaurants—Talde, Pork Slope and Thistle Hill Tavern—Dale Talde has built an empire on food that is just slightly over the top, yet absolutely delicious. At his new Italian trattoria in Jersey City, Carrino Provisions, Talde puts his own distinctive spin on puttanesca, the salty pasta dish sauce filled with olives, capers and garlic, by adding slow-simmered octopus and finishing it with an infused beef butter. It's a little time consuming, but, boy, is this pasta rich and worth the wait.

To learn more, read "Here's the Beef."

Octopus Puttanesca

Recipe adapted from Dale Talde, Carrino Provisions, Jersey City, NJ

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours and 50 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours and 10 minutes

Ingredients

For the Beef Butter:

⅓ cup beef fat

2 garlic cloves

1 sprig rosemary

1 sprig thyme

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon soy sauce

For the Octopus:

1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped

1 celery rib, roughly chopped

1 medium tomato, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves

One 2-pound octopus, cleaned, head and beak removed

2 tablespoons rendered beef fat

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup dry red wine

2 sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

One 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes

Fish sauce, to taste

For the Pasta:

⅓ cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

1 pound short-cut pasta (such as campanelle, garganelli or fusilli)

1 tablespoon capers

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

⅓ cup sliced red onions

¼ cup sliced green olives

¼ cup torn mint

Zest of ½ lemon

Directions

1. Make the beef butter: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the beef fat, garlic, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. Cook until the garlic turns light golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the beef fat through a fine sieve and discard any solids. Let the beef fat cool to room temperature then chill until ready to use.

2. Remove the beef fat an hour before using to allow it to come to room temperature. In a stand mixer, combine the beef fat, butter and soy sauce; mix until well incorporated. Makes ½ cup.

3. Make the octopus: In a food processor, pulse the onion, celery, tomatoes and garlic until very finely chopped. Set aside.

4. Make an ice bath and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the octopus for 5 minutes, then transfer to the ice bath and submerge the octopus until chilled.

5. Remove the octopus and pat dry. Cut into ½-inch pieces. If your cutting board becomes wet while working with the octopus, wipe your board dry periodically.

6. In a large, shallow pot over medium heat, add the beef fat. When the beef fat is hot, add the onion-tomato mixture and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are completely softened and any excess liquid has evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until the mixture begins to caramelize, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the red wine and reduce by half, 10 to 12 minutes.

7. Tie the thyme and bay leaf together using kitchen twine. Add the crushed tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add the octopus and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the octopus is tender and the sauce has reduced to 2½ cups, around 2 hours. Taste and season with fish sauce, if needed.

8. Make the pasta: Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, toss the panko with 1 teaspoon olive. Toast the bread crumbs on a parchment-lined sheet tray until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until very al dente, 7 to 8 minutes depending on the pasta's shape. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking water.

9. Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the capers, garlic, red pepper flakes, red onions and green olives and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is light golden brown and the onions are very soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the pasta, braised octopus and reserved pasta cooking water, and cook until the pasta and the sauce come together, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons beef butter and toss to combine.

10. Divide the pasta among bowls and top with toasted bread crumbs, mint and lemon zest. 

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