Flomaria pasta from Lemnos with
Octopus in a Wine and Mushroom Sauce
by chef Gikas Xenakis (Aleria restaurant).
Empty the head and discard all of the organs of the octopus by turning it inside-out, so that only its white shiny flesh remains.
Leave the octopus’ beak which is found at the top of all its tentacles on the side of the suction cups.
Rinse the octopus thoroughly.
Boil 150ml/5.07 fl oz white wine until it’s reduced to 1/3 of the original liquid.
Finely chop 1 onion, 1 large carrot and a little celery, and grate 2 large tomatoes.
Soak about a handful of dried mushrooms in a little water.
In an ovenproof saucepan (without plastic handles) add olive oil and heat it well.
Place the octopus in the saucepan and sauté on a very high heat for 5 minutes.
Add the vegetables and the grated tomatoes, as well as 2 rosemary twigs, ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon dried coriander and 1 bay leaf. Don’t add salt.
Bake in an oven at 210C/410F for an hour, with the lid on.
Pierce to check if the flesh is tender , otherwise, leave for another 15 minutes (depending on the size of the octopus which, for this recipe, should be about 2 kilos/70.55 oz).
Take the saucepan out of the oven and strain all the liquids in another pot.
Cut the octopus into small pieces.
Reduce and thicken the sauce by boiling it on a high heat for 5 minutes, adding the soaked mushrooms after 2 minutes, and some thyme at the end.
Boil the flomaria (or any other small tubular pasta) in salted water according to the package instructions.
Strain the pasta and add to the sauce and octopus pieces.
Lower the heat and stir.
At the very last minute before serving, add some chopped parsley, the green parts of some spring onions, olive oil and freshly ground pepper.
* This dish can be prepared the previous day and cooking the pasta just before serving. This way, the octopus will have marinated in all its juices, soaking up the aromas of all the ingredients.
With special thanks to Gikas Xenakis, chef at Aleria restaurant (M. Alexandrou 57, Metaxourgeio, 210-5222633), for his invaluable time and help, which he kindly gave me whilst recording, cooking and photographing this recipe! www.aleria.gr