Tortino di polpo e zucchine con menta e rosmarino

(= Octopus and Zucchini with Mint and Rosemary)

Ingredients for 4 people: 1 octopus weighing approx. 600 g (already cleaned, possibly by your fishmonger)400 g zucchini1 stalk of celery1 sprig of parsley1 carrot3-4 black peppercorns1 bay leaf2 cloves of garlic, peeled3 leaves of mint (+ 4 for garnishing)1 sprig of rosemary5 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil½ hot chilli pepper salt and pepper

Put the carrot, parsley, bay leaf, celery and pepper corns on the stove in a saucepan full of lightly salted water. When the water comes to the boil, take the octopus by the head, put it into the saucepan and put the lid on. Boil it for roughly 30 minutes, or until it’s tender. Turn off the heat and leave the octopus to cool down in its water. In the meanwhile wash the zucchini, cut the ends off and dice them. Put the oil in heavy-bottomed frying pan and sauté the garlic and chilli pepper in it, together with the rosemary and mint (both torn up by hand). As soon as the garlic begins to brown, remove it from the pan and tip the zucchini in. Season with salt and cook, stirring frequently, for  5-6 minutes: they must remain firm and not overcook. Now go back to the octopus, which in the meanwhile will have cooled: take it out of the saucepan and put it on a chopping board. Cut off the tentacles – leaving them whole – and divide the head in 3 pieces. Heat a grill pan (or a heavy-bottomed frying pan) and, when it’s scorching hot, cook the pieces of octopus for 2-3 minutes on either side, so they brown a little. Put them on a chopping board to cool down a bit and then cut them into pieces. In a bowl, mix the “tossed” zucchini with the pieces of octopus, season with salt and pepper.

Fill the ramekins with the mixture in the bowl, pressing it down well with the back of a spoon. Tip each ramekin upside-down on a plate, “drizzle” a little olive oil on top, add a sprinkling of pepper and garnish with a mint leaf.