Octopus Luciana: Neapolitan recipe


Octopus must be cooked in its own water …”This is a very common Neapolitan proverb which means:“ give time to time! ”. It is often used above all in those cases of hard-tempered people who, despite being aware of making mistakes, do not listen to the advice of others. It is a very ancient proverb, linked to traditions dating back to centuries ago born in a beautiful and ancient Naples.

In fact, the Luciana octopus, it’s a Neapolitan recipe which dates back to many years ago. Born in district of Santa Lucia, one of the oldest villages in Naples animated by many fishermen called “Luciani”. In those days, fishing was among the most popular activities and the fishermen of Santa Lucia were the most experienced in octopus fishing. The caught octopuses were cooked in a large clay pot filled with water covered with a damp cloth. The gentle, slow and prolonged cooking made it possible to obtain a tender and soft octopus. And that’s how it was born “o purp ‘s’adda cocer’ rint ‘to soya water!“Or” the octopus must be cooked in its own water “. And woe to reiterate the opposite! 😉

The Luciana octopus it is almost never missing on our table and it is a recipe that at my home we love to replicate often. It is perfect to be served hot as a main course or to be enjoyed cold as a delicious appetizer. The Luciana octopus it can be served either accompanied by croutons, like soup, or on crunchy slices of toasted bread to make up delicious seafood bruschetta.

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Luciana octopus

Octopus alla Luciana is a fish dish typical of the Campania tradition. It can be served as a main course or as a delicious appetizer!

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes



  1. In a large pan, heat three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Finely chop the onion and add to the oil. Let it brown on a low flame for a few minutes. Also add the fresh chilli (or a few pinches if you use the powder) and the chopped fresh parsley and cook for a couple of minutes.

  2. Add the previously washed whole cherry tomatoes and the tomato puree. Add half a glass of water, cover the pan with the lid and let the sauce reduce for about 10 minutes over low heat. Eliminate the chilli if you use the whole one.

  3. Add the whole octopuses previously cleaned from the entrails and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes, turning them from time to time.

  4. When cooked, add the black olives and continue cooking for another 5/10 minutes. Once ready and soft (you can check it with the tines of a fork), turn off the heat and season with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and chopped fresh parsley.

  5. Serve hot accompanied by croutons or cold. Enjoy your meal!

  • Serve the octopus hot or you can prepare it in advance and serve it cold as an appetizer
  • Keep the leftovers in the fridge in a container and reheat in the microwave or in a pan over low heat
  • Use the leftover sauce to season a tasty plate of spaghetti!

An extra ingredient? Add some capers to the sauce to make it even more intriguing!

Try my recipes and tag me on Instagram adding my tag #incucinaconanna #annaontheclouds

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