For a dramatic-looking dish, use black squid ink pasta. This works just as well with frozen octopus as with fresh, which is easy to find in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese or Asian stores, if your fishmonger doesn’t stock it
• 200g octopus arms, cooked or uncooked, defrosted if frozen
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the octopus
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• small pinch salt
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1/2 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons red wine
• 125g passata
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon dried greek oregano
• 200g dried long pasta, such as linguine to serve
• 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves, to serve
1 If you are starting with raw octopus arms, place them in a small saucepan with a lid, turn the heat to high and bring to the boil without any added liquid, as it will release plenty of its own.
2 Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, checking to ensure it hasn’t boiled dry. Remove the octopus from the liquid, drain and pat dry with paper towels.
3 Once the octopus is cooked, heat a griddle pan with a little oil and grill the octopus, turning to char all sides, then slice it into 5 mm pieces.
4 Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan, and sauté the onion with the salt for 8–10 mins, until just soft and translucent. Next, add the garlic and the chilli, cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine.
5 Let it bubble for a couple of minutes, then add the passata, pepper, Greek oregano and the cooked octopus and pour in 100 ml of water.
6 Simmer for 15–20 minutes, until the mixture has a good sauce consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
7 Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain.
8 At the last moment, stir the parsley into the sauce along with the cooked pasta.
Recipe courtesy of Rebecca Seal, extracted from The Islands of Greece