Tiffani Thiessen’s Squid Ink Pasta with Octopus and Spicy Tomato Sauce


Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen


For the Octopus:

  • 1 pound baby octopus, tentacles removed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¾ cup yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup fennel, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Kosher salt, to taste

For the Spicy Tomato Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fennel, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup dry rose or white wine
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 pound squid ink spaghetti


For octopus, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, submerge the octopus tentacles into the water for 10 seconds at a time. Repeat this 3 more times. Remove the blanched octopus to a medium saucepot and add in the garlic, onion, fennel, and stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the octopus is tender and easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife.

For spicy tomato sauce, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Then add the onion and fennel and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and then pour in the wine, diced tomatoes and harissa. Stir together and bring to a simmer. 

Continue to simmer, uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and there is only a small amount of liquid left. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool for 10-15 minutes and then transfer the sauce to a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Season with more salt to taste.

Cook pasta to package directions. Drain and toss the pasta with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the cooked pasta to a serving plate and top with desired amount of sauce. Drain the squid from the cooking liquid, season with salt, and add to the top of the pasta. Serve immediately.

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