NOT octopus bolognese, rather Ethan Stowell’s famed rigatoni! Tavolata’s young-buck chef, 26-year

NOT octopus bolognese, rather Ethan Stowell’s famed rigatoni! Tavolata’s young-buck chef, 26-year old Brandon Kirksey, is serving his recipe for head this week. Octopus head, that is. Regardless of how you feel about consuming this intelligent sea creature (can you get a shrimp out of a twist-top jar without using your fingers?), it’s one of Kirksey’s favorites, which he likes to serve at the restaurant with pappardelle or tagliarini noodles. “The recipe calls for whole octopus, but I just use the heads,” says Kirksey. “I learned this recipe from an old Greek chef who would say ‘The heads are the best part, but everyone throws them away.’ I save the tentacles, braise them, and grill them for octopus salad.”Kirksey says he likes this recipe because “It’s delicious, utilizes the whole animal, and is a conversation dish. People will always tell their friends about the time they ate octopus bolognese–and loved it!”Kirksey’s recipe after the jump! And make sure you check out part one and part two of Grillaxin with Tavolata’s “head” chef!”When cooked,” says Kirksey, “octopus has the tough, meaty texture of beef or pork, so I treat it that way by dicing up the heads and slow-cooking them with some mirepoix, wine tomato, and a touch of cream. The result is a delicious and unique sauce that will make you a believer that eating heads actually does make you smarter.”4 large octopus heads1 carrot, diced1 onion, diced1 celery stalk, diced2 garlic cloves, sliced1T tomato paste1C white wine1C chicken stock2C crushed tomato1/4C cream1T mint, chopped1T oregano, choppedsaltolive oil1) Take the heads and cut off the eye section and peel off the purple skin. You will be left with a round, white disc. Then, put them in the freezer for 20 minutes so they are easy to dice into small uniform shapes without slipping around.2) After the heads are diced, saute them in your sauce pot on medium/high heat with a splash of olive oil. They will release a lot of water. In about 10 minutes, drain off the water and add the diced mirepoix and sliced garlic to the pot. Sweat until they become translucent and soft.3) Add tomato paste and stir it around until it has coated all the vegetables and octopus. Allow the tomato paste to lightly caramelize, about 5-7 minutes.4) Add white wine and let it reduce by half.5) Add stock, tomato, and a light seasoning of salt. Stir everything together and reduce heat to low.6) Simmer the sauce very gently for about 2 ½ -3 hours until the octopus is tender and the sauce has thickened slightly.7) At the last 20 min of cooking, add the cream. This will give the sauce a subtle richness.8) Finish by seasoning to taste with salt and adding mint and oregano. Mix together with the pasta of your choice and finish with quality olive oil.Enjoy!Follow Voracious on Facebook and Twitter.


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