Octopus Ravioli

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IMG_6062If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know that I love octopus and if you love Greek food or have visited Greece – you know octopus is cooked in array of ways from braised to grilled, roasted to pickled.

When one buys an octopus, you get eight tentacles and the head. Everything but the eyes, ink sac and beak are edible but the head is not attractive to serve – we all want tentacles!

I have seen many a recipe from “celebrity chefs” who discard the heads and this a shame. Greek cuisine is frugal and nothing gets thrown out! I’ve made octopus meatballs with braised octopus heads or pickled it. This past June I met my good friend Diane Kochilas at Molyvos in Manhattan where were sipped on wine and played catch up with each other’s respective lives.

I had not eaten dinner and Diane recommended I try the octopus ravioli – a resourceful use of octopus heads and from a restaurant point of view – nothing gets thrown out!

Here, you get a ravioli filled with octopus and some aromatics, a tomato sauce in the style of “stifado” (onion stew) and some green olives and an octopus tentacle to light up the dish.

If you’re more in a rush, you can use wonton wrappers to make ravioli (just go to an Asian store). The filling is meaty, hints of oregano and mint and the sauce is savory with the presence of onions, briny green olives and a hint of cinnamon (as is called for in a stifado sauce).

Summer is coming to an end and with us cooks moving from the grill to the stovetop, octopus stifado sounds just about right!IMG_6054

Octopus Ravioli

(inspired by Diane Kochilas’ dish at Molyvos New York)

Serves 4

For the filling

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 large braised octopus head, roughly chopped (approx. 500 grams)

1 tsp. tomato paste

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 tsp. dried Greek oregano

1 tsp. finely chopped fresh mint

salt and pepper to taste

1 medium boiled potato (or 1 slice of stale bread)

For the Pasta

400 grams of “type 00” flour (farina)

4 large eggs

1/2 tsp. salt

For the sauce

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

2 cups of fresh tomato puree (tomatoes passed through a hand grater)

1 cup of pitted green olives

1/4 cup dry white wine

salt and pepper to taste

pinch of ground cinnamon


octopus tentacle

  1. For the filling, add the olive oil, onions, garlic and octopus and sweat until onions are translucent. Add the tomato paste, stir in and cook for a minute, add the wine and simmer for a couple of minutes or until most liquid is gone. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place in a food processor along with oregano, mint, crumbled boiled potato/bread and pulse until blended. Season with salt and pepper, reserve.
  2. To make the dough, place the flour and cracked eggs in a food processor and pulse until the flour/egg mixture becomes dry and crumbly. Empty onto to a floured work surface and begin needing the dough with your hands until smooth and silky. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for an hour.
  3. To makes the sauce, add the olive oil, onions, garlic into a skillet and sweat over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the bay leaves, tomatoes, olives and wine and bring up to a simmer then reduce until the sauce is thick. Season with salt, pepper and add pinch of ground cinnamon. Take off the heat and reserve.
  4. Dust your work surface with flour and unwrap the dough and cut into two and form two balls then flatten with your palm. Set your pasta machine to its widest setting, dust the rollers and the dough with flour and pass the dough through it. Reduce the setting to a thinner notch, dust dough again and pass through pasta machine. Fold the short sides of the dough towards the center to form a rectangle and repeat process 5-6 times or until pasta is smooth.
  5. Reduce the width another notch and pass the dough through (dust rollers and pasta again). Reduce notch again and pass through until your pasta is approx.  1mm. thick.
  6. Cut the pasta to 15cm by 30cm and on one half of the pasta place a teaspoon of filling with a 1 1/2 cm. space between each. Lightly brush the edges of pasta with water and fold over the other side. Use your fingers to press down/seal the pasta and remove any air pockets. Use a pastry crimper to cut into square or circular pasta shapes. Gently reheat your pasta sauce, keep warm
  7. Place a pot of water on your stove to a boil and add some salt and add your ravioli. Boil for 1-2 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon.
  8. To plate, place a portion (3 or 4 ravioli) on a plate and top with tomato sauce and garnish with an octopus tentacle. Pair with a Thymiopoulos Earth & Sky Xinomavro.


© 2014,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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