Sunday, May 19 2024

POLPO ALLA LUCIANA is a typical second course of Neapolitan cuisine, a simple and slow preparation that makes the octopus very soft and incredibly tasty.

The name of this dish should not be misleading; octopus alla luciana is typical of the Santa Lucia suburb in Naples, an old fishing district, called precisely “luciani,” famous for fishing for octopus verace, and for traditional and irresistible cooking.

Hence the name of the recipe for octopus, cooked precisely “alla luciana” in honor of its neighborhood of origin.

The recipe for octopus alla luciana is one of the workhorses of the Neapolitan tradition, a good and tasty main course, enriched with flavorings and cooked slowly so as to release all the smells of the spices, cherry tomatoes and octopus.



The octopus is cooked in two stages, first it is simmered in a saucepan, without boiling it as it is usually done, and then the cooking is completed with herbs and cherry tomatoes. To make sure the dish is well flavored, the heads of the octopuses are emptied and washed well and olives, capers, garlic and parsley are put in, then sealed with toothpicks.

The octopuses are to be stewed in extra virgin olive oil flavored with garlic, chili, pepper.

While the octopus is cooking, the tomatoes are prepared. The cherry tomatoes should be cooked separately with garlic, salt, and extra virgin olive oil and then added to the octopus, after inserting olives, capers, and parsley to flavor the cooking juices.


The octopus alla luciana recipe is very simple, but it requires that certain steps (which are essential to achieve a balanced and tasty mouth-watering dish) be carried out with care and attention.

This dish can be prepared with both large and medium octopuses, small octopuses or baby octopuses; if you use the latter, the cooking time will be a bit shorter since they are smaller.

In this recipe it is fine to use both fresh and thawed octopus, with the latter we will have softer and more tender meat.

Cooking the octopus should be done very slowly to avoid burning the oil and flavorings, which would then impart a bitter taste to the whole dish.


The amount of salt used is quite limited because olives and capers are already quite salty; at the end of cooking, you can possibly adjust the salt if necessary.






  • 35 oz of octopus (1 kg)
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 hot peppers
  • olive oil to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp of desalted capers
  • 2 tbsp of pitted black olives
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • parsley to taste




To make this dish you can start with the octopus already cleaned or take care of it at home.

Wash the tentacles well to remove any remaining sand, empty the side pouch and remove the eyes and tooth.
Clean and empty the inside of the head, which we will need for stuffing.

Put half of the olives, some parsley, two cloves of minced garlic and half of the capers in a bowl.

The salted capers should be rinsed under running water, drained and then squeezed lightly.

Use this aromatic mix to stuff the heads of octopuses.

Close the heads with toothpicks and set aside.

Meanwhile, take a saucepan and put extra virgin olive oil, chopped chili pepper, a clove of chopped garlic and pepper.

Sauté by tilting the pan so that the oil takes on flavor without burning the other ingredients.

Place the octopuses in the pan with their heads facing up and cook over a high flame for a few minutes.

Then turn the heat down and cook the octopuses for 30 minutes over a gentle heat until tender.

Meanwhile, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and season with a little salt.

Heat extra virgin olive oil and two cloves of garlic in a frying pan and tilt it so the garlic does not burn.

Add the cherry tomatoes and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes.

After about 15 minutes, mash the tomatoes with a fork to release all the vegetable water.

Add the remaining olives, capers and parsley to the octopuses, stir and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the tomatoes and all their juices and complete cooking, over a gentle heat, for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve the octopus alla luciana piping hot, preferably in the characteristic small earthenware bowls as tradition dictates.


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