Today we are making Octopus Yiouvetsi, which is Octopus with Tomato & Orzo. You might recall that I made lamb version of this recipe ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZntItLVu50 ) last winter, because it is a great hearty dish for cooler weather. This is a similar recipe only with fresh cooked baby octopus as the main ingredient. This makes the dish a little lighter and more unique, and it’s a lot of fun to make.
Baby Octopi are great for this recipe because they are easy to prepare, they also look really cute. Since they are younger and more tender, they don’t take too long to soften up on the stovetop. Then I continue to add the ingredients to the pot as the octopi cook until the dish is complete.
The beauty of this dish is that it can be made in one pot. Not only is this convenient, but it enables the tomato to really soak up the flavors of the octopus. This creates a wonderful depth and nuance to the dish. When it’s complete I serve it in low bowls with a fork. It’s best served piping hot on a cool evening. The octopus tentacles will have greatly reduced in size and be absolutely delicious.
I know it can seem a little intimidating to cook with octopus, but this dish is worth it. If you have any questions about my methods or working with octopus simply leave a comment and I’ll answer it right away!
Baby Octopus Yiouvesti
This is a lighter version of the Lamb Yiouvesti. Baby octopus is light and tender, and preparing it isn’t nearly as hard as you might think. We eat Octopus all the time in Greece because it is plentiful and inexpensive.
Serving 4 people
1 lb of baby octopus (about 6 pieces)
2 bay leaves
½ tsp whole peppercorns
3 whole cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ white onion, finely diced
¼ cup white wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups of water
2 tsp salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups hot water
1 ¼ cup orzo
Cut the legs in quarters, cut the head in half
Put the octopus, bay leaves, peppercorns, and cloves in a pot over low heat, bring it to a simmer, and cook it for about 30 minutes until the juices are released cooked off
Add the olive oil and onion to the pot with the octopus, and sauté the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Carefully pour in the wine and deglaze the pot, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon.
Add the tomato paste and stir it into the octopus mixture, allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Pour in the 4 cups of water and raise the heat to bring it a boil.
Cover the pot and let cook on low heat until octopus is tender about 40 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and discard.
Add salt and pepper and 2 cups of hot water bring back to a boil, then add the orzo and bring the water back to a boil, Cover the pot and cook the orzo for about 8 to 10 minutes
Once the orzo is cooked and tender, serve hot.
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