From Penelope's kitchen: Grilled Octopus Rigatoni


Whenever I see fresh octopus in a fish market, I seize the opportunity and buy at least a few pounds. It’s tasty, versatile and nutritious, and when grilled, goes hand in hand with summer. Rarely offered fresh, it can sometimes be found at Citarella or Brauns Fish Market, and frozen at BJ’s, the Wainscott Seafood Shoppe and other fish stores.

The simplest preparation is grilling and serving with lemon, olive oil and chopped parsley, which also makes for a wonderful appetizer at dinner parties. A few years ago, Sweet Tomato’s restaurant in Shelter Island Heights offered grilled octopus as an appetizer, but unfortunately I haven’t seen it on the menu recently.

Here is one of my favorite pasta dishes:

Grilled Octopus Rigatoni
Serves 4

Seafood Sauce
4 tablespoon olive oil + 4 additional tablespoons
2 cloves garlic
1 medium red onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup vermouth
2 bottles clam broth
1 ear corn, grilled and kernals removed
4 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons flat parsley chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped fine
4 sprigs fresh thyme, removed from stem
4 turns ground black pepper

2 lbs octopus, rinsed well
1 cup olive oil
1 lemon – juice squeezed
3 sprigs thyme

1/2 box rigatoni cooked as directed

Bring salted water to boil in pasta pot
Separate tentacles and body sac from octopus and add to water
Cook for 30-45 minutes or until tender
Drain and cool
Add to ziplock bag and marinate in olive oil, lemon and thyme in refrigerator overnight
Grill on oiled rack on barbecue, 1-2 mins each side

Seafood Base
In warmed skillet, pour 4 T olive oil;
When oil is warmed, add garlic and onions, and stir;
Once onions are translucent, add vermouth, cook 15 minutes
Add clam broth
Bring to boil and simmer on low heat
Cut octopus into pieces and add with corn and capers to broth
Cook for 15 minutes
Add parsley, chives and thyme
Add to cooked pasta, with additional olive oil and black pepper just prior to serving