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Poached baby octopus: the recipe for the typical dish of the Neapolitan tradition

Poached baby octopus: the recipe for the typical dish of the Neapolitan tradition


Extra virgin olive oil

I drowned octopusoh purptiell affugat, are a simple and tasty dish typical of Neapolitan cuisine. A recipe born in Borgo Santa Lucia in Naples, thanks to the intuition of the fishing community that once resided there, excellent to bring to the table both as secondas an accompaniment to fragrant slices of toasted homemade bread, both as antipastiin a small mo-portion casserole dish.

Octopuses, cleaned and flavored in a base of oil, garlic and chilli pepperare assembled with white wine and left to “drown” in the tomato pulp covered with a lid, or slowly cooked until the meat is tender and melts in your mouth. The result will be a succulent dish, proof of the final turnover, to be prepared in abundance and used at will to flavor a good risotto or a portion of spaghetti.

For this preparation you can also use i dormouseless precious than the octopus but just as tasty, the important thing, whatever your choice, will be to buy them very fresh: with intact and firm tentacles, and a beautiful bright color.

For a presentation faithful to the original, we served the octopus in a terracotta stove. The custom derives from the ancient fishing technique, known as “amphora”, once used by sailors who, during the night, placed terracotta vases filled with white stones on the seabed, to then find them again. next day, full of octopuses attracted by the color of the stones.

Find out how to prepare poached baby octopus by following the step-by-step procedure and tips. If you liked this recipe, also try the octopus alla luciana.

How to prepare poached baby octopus

Rinse the octopuses and collect them in a bowl 1.

With a pair of scissors, cut the head at the sac 2.

remove beak 3 and the eyes.

Take the innards out of the bag 4.

Peel off the pouch 5.

While you clean the octopuses, place them in a bowl filled with cold water 6then rinse them thoroughly under running water.

Drain the shellfish well in a colander 7.

Pour the extra virgin olive oil into a high-sided saucepan, add a clove of garlic and a little chopped chilli 8and simmer gently.

Combine the octopuses 9.

Let them flavor over low heat for about 3 minutes ten.

Pour the white wine 11turn up the heat and let evaporate.

Mix gently with a wooden spoon 12 and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

Add the crushed peeled tomatoes 13.

Flavor with chopped parsley 14.

Season with salt and pepper 15.

Stir again 16 for a few moments.

Cover with a lid 17 and cook the octopus over low heat for about 35 minutes.

Once the cooking time has elapsed, turn off the heat and let the octopus “drown” in the sauce for another 10 minutes: at the end the molluscs should be tender, and the sauce thick. 18.

Then spread the octopus in a terracotta pan, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with slices of toast 19.


The octopuses will be ready when they are tender by pricking them with the tines of a fork and the sauce will be thick and not at all watery. For best results, we suggest leaving rest the shells off the heat, covered with a lid, for at least 10 minutes: this way they will get the best flavor without losing their consistency.

For an even result, choose polypetti della same size and weight, and avoid those that are too small: shrinking over the heat, they risk “disfiguring” you at the table.

If you want instead of fresh octopus, you can also use them frozen foodhowever, having the foresight to thaw them well before proceeding with the preparation, to prevent them from releasing too much water during cooking.

You can replace the peeled tomatoes with jam Cherry tomatoes and spice up the dish with fresh or dried chilli, to add according to your personal taste.


The poached baby octopus can be kept in the refrigerator, closed in an airtight container, for 1-2 days massive.

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