Spaghetti “Risotto Style” with Octopus and Seared Cherry Tomatoes

In southwestern Italy, seafood appears in many recipes. Here, it’s octopus, paired with pan-seared tomatoes and pasta cooked risotto style. Use any small or broken pasta for this dish.

3 pounds Barilla Spaghetti, broken into smaller pieces
6 pounds octopus, cleaned
3 onions: 2 halved, 1 diced
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 pounds multicolored cherry tomatoes, halved
12 basil leaves, chiffonade
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
  1. Boil the octopus in salted water with the onion halves for about 30 minutes. Let cool in the liquid for 2 hours. Strain the octopus, reserving the broth, and cut the meat into 1/2-inch pieces.
  2. Heat oil and saute the diced onion until translucent. Begin adding the broken pasta and stirring it with warm reserved octopus broth, as for risotto. Cook until the pasta is still quite al dente. Season with salt and pepper. Remove and spread it on a baking sheet to cool.
  3. For each serving, to order: Sear 2 oz. tomato halves in a skillet; season with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup cooked pasta and loosen it with more broth. Stir in 4 oz. octopus and some basil and parsley and heat through. Plate and drizzle with olive oil.