Recipe: Octopus Risotto

What do you do with an abundance of octopus? Last year, I forayed into the age old dilemma of how to tenderize an octopus. After a successful slow roast, I had a lot of cooked octopus on my hands, along with some gelatin-laden octopus pan juices. Some of the octopus I diced and used in takoyaki (fried octopus balls). Then I started thinking about the leftover octopus juice and what that could be used for. How about for risotto?

The following is a basic risotto recipe, only with the substitution of octopus juice for some of the broth. You can adjust this more or less to taste; just be careful as the juices are naturally salty and you don’t want the dish to become too salty. If you are looking for ways to jazz up risotto with seafood, this is a fun, fancy-sounding dinner that is actually quite easy to make.

Octopus Risotto

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 c arborio rice
1/2 c white wine, dry
3 c vegetable broth
1 c octopus pan juices, to taste
1/2 c octopus, cooked, diced
1 T butter
1/4 c parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T parsley, minced

In a medium saucepan or pot, combine the broth and octopus juice and heat until the mixture is simmering, but not boiling vigorously. In a large pan or deep skillet, add the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and onion, and toss for 2 minutes until softened. Add the arborio rice and toss to coat the grains with oil, and toast for 30 seconds. Add the white wine and stir rapidly to combine. When the liquid has been mostly absorbed, add the broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. When the liquid is mostly absorbed or the pan looks dry, add another 1/2 cup of liquid. Keep the pan on low-medium heat, uncovered, and stir every 1-2 minutes, taking care to scrape the bottom of the pan. When the rice is cooked to al dente (about 25-30 minutes), remove from heat, add the octopus, butter and parmesan. Mix thoroughly and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley flakes.