Octopus Risotto (Risotto al Polpo)

If you cook octopus sous vide, you will get tender flavorful octopus, as well as a lot of flavorful liquid in the bag (more than a third of the original weight of the octopus, see this post). Het is a waste to throw that liquid out, as it contains a lot of flavor. A great way to use that liquid is to make risotto.

You can also prepare octopus risotto by boiling the octopus in the traditional way, and then using the cooking water for the risotto.

When I cook octopus sous vide, I put a large batch into a large water bath at once, and then freeze most of it. If I prepare an octopus dish for which I do not use the liquid, such as an Italian octopus salad, I freeze the liquid for later use. For this risotto I used 500 grams of sous vide cooked octopus with the liquid from the bag, plus the liquid from another 500 grams of sous vide cooked octopus.

Ingredients

For 2 large or 3 medium servings

  • 500 grams (1.1 lbs) octopus cooked sous vide, or 500 grams (1.1 lbs) of octopus, boiled in water with a bay leaf and a bit of salt until tender, cooking water reserved and reduced to 500 ml (2 cups)
  • optional: reserved liquid from cooking octopus sous vide (you will need 500 ml or 2 cups in total)
  • 200 grams (1 cup) risotto rice, such as carnaroli or arborio
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 250 ml (1 cup) sieved tomatoes, or canned peeled tomatoes, pureed with a food processor or immersion blender
  • olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf (preferably fresh, but dried will work too)
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley

Instructions

Take the sous vide cooked octopus out of the bag…

…and pour the liquid into a saucepan. Add more octopus liquid if you have it or water, to end up with 500 ml (2 cups) of liquid.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide low pan with a thick bottom. Add the minced onion and stir over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until the onion is soft (not browned).

Meanwhile, cut off the ends of the octopus tentacles and reserve as garnish. Dice the remaining octopus, and reserve.

If using canned peeled tomatoes, puree them with a blender.

Add 250 ml (1 cup) of the pureed tomatoes (or sieved tomatoes) to the octopus liquid. Bring this to a boil, then keep it hot but not boiling.

When the onions are soft, add the rice.

Increase the heat to medium and stir the rice to toast it for a couple of minutes.

Add the white wine.

Stir until the wine has evaporated.

When the rice is almost dry, add a ladle of octopus liquid.

Make sure the rice keeps simmering gently. Stir until the rice is almost dry, then add another ladle of liquid.

Keep stirring and adding liquid until the rice is almost al dente, about 15 minutes. Check the doneness of the rice by tasting. The rice should have bite, but it should not be hard on the inside. If you run out of liquid before the rice is cooked, switch over to using hot water instead.

When the rice is almost al dente, add the octopus and another ladle of liquid. Stir for another minute, then turn off the heat.

Add most of the minced parsley.

Stir, then taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. You may not need any salt. Allow the risotto to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, fry the reserved octopus tentacles in olive oil over high heat.

Serve the risotto on preheated plates, garnished with the remaining parsley and the fried octopus tentacles.

Wine pairing

This is great with a full-bodied dry Italian white, such as Fiano di Avellino, Vermentino from Sardegna or a Verdicchio Riserva.

Flashback

Miso-cured salmon sous vide is a great way to prepare salmon.

6 thoughts on “Octopus Risotto (Risotto al Polpo)

  1. You may vaguely remember I do not use sous-vide but do understand the method would work well here. I do not think I have prepared risotto al polpo before but am now curious enough to try within the next week or two . . . thank you !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a spectacular dish, I eat a lot of octopus (a la plancha) when we’re in Spain but haven’t really been able to prepare it at home. We now have the pre-cooked octopus tentacles here (the vacuum packed and sell frozen in the grocery store), we usually just grill them which gives them incredible flavour but no leftover liquid. I am curious as to the flavour of the octopus juice, it would make an incredible risotto. I can buy clam juice, I wonder if it would work, fish stock might be too fishy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fish stock actually has a milder flavor. I think some people would prefer to dilute the octopus liquid with vegetable stock (or indeed fish stock). Of course if you boil the octopus in a pot, the resulting octopus stock will be much milder than the pure octopus juice out of the sous vide bag. I think you should be able to find frozen raw octopus. Clam juice is more salty

      Liked by 1 person

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