Octopus with polenta

J. A. Brillat-Savarin, in his Physiology of Taste wrote: “Invite someone to lunch means to be responsible for the happiness of this person during the hours that he will pass under your roof.” In fact, what’s better, in these cold days of winter, than stay at home, with your friends or with your family serving a tasty dish, but also cheap, as the stewed baby octopus with polenta?

Venetian cuisine and fish: a combination of ancient tradition

Venetian cuisine is rich in fish and could not be otherwise, because the lagoon and the Adriatic Sea every day offer delicious products. Not just for this reason, however, the fish is the protagonist of Venetian cuisine, there are also some historical and religious ones.

moscardini in umido con polentaThe Council of Trent, in fact, established that the meat could not be eaten at certain times of the year. For this reason the Venetian gastronomy, especially that so-called “poor”, is full of recipes based on fish and shellfish.

Among these, the stewed baby octopus with polenta, are certainly the perfect protagonists of a dinner, without having to spend so much.

The recipe


1 kg of baby octopus

4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons of tomato sauce

2/3 clove of garlic

1 bay leaf

Some sage leaves

1 glass of white wine

Chopped parsley q.s.

Salt and pepper q.s.

A pinch of red pepper

Instant polenta


  1.  Clean the baby octopus; after brown the garlic in a pot.
  2.  When the garlic is brown, add in the pot all the ingredients, except the parsley that you’ll add after cooking.
  3.  Cook over low heat for about 1½ hours.
  4.  When there are about 30 minutes at the end of baby octopus cooking, start to prepare the polenta, so it will be ready with them.
  5.  Serve the baby octopus and polenta when they’re hot, with a sprinkling of parsley.
  6. Now you just need to a good white wine and the right company to enjoy your meal!

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