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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Polpo in Galera (Jailed Octopus) + La Lastra Vernaccia 2021 #ItalianFWT

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

This month Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm is hosting the Italian Food Wine Travel group in a discussion about wine pairings from Tuscany.


All of these posts will be live between Friday, June 30th and Saturday, July 1st.



At First Glance


'Tuscany' is such a broad prompt. I am curious to see what the group pours and pairs. At first glance, I immediately began thinking of pairings for Chianti or Super Tuscans. Brunello di Montalcino is also a favorite of mine. We are still fully enveloped in June gloom here on California's central coast. So, a red wine from Tuscany would still feel seasonal. However, I decided to pivot and try to find a white wine from Tuscany for this summertime post. Eccolà!


La Lastra Vernaccia 2021


When most people think of Tuscany, me included, all the famous red wines of Tuscany come to mind. Vernaccia di San Gimignano is the only Tuscan white wine to be awarded Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) status, a guarantee of its origin and quality.


Regulations require that Vernaccia di San Gimignano contain at least 85% of Vernaccia grapes grown in the municipality of San Gimignano; while up to 15% of other white grape varieties are allowed, most winemakers use the grape as a single varietal.


When I lived in Italy for a year after college, I spent a few days before Christmas in Tuscany and ended up in San Gimignano for a day. The wind was brutal, but I fell in love with those thirteen Medieval towers and the cinghali all around town wearing Santa hats and fake beards. It was another juxtaposition that Italians seems to love.


The Sacro Bosco 'sacred wood' also known as Parco dei Mostri 'Park of the Monsters' is another favorite. Tucked into the manicured garden in Bomarzo are these enormous monsters carved into boulders. It's fantastic!


Polpo in Galera

Jailed Octopus


When I was looking for a Tuscan recipe, I found this braised octopus recipe from Elba, the largest island in the Tuscan archipelago. I did some research about the name: Polpo in Galera, literally 'jailed octopus'. It is considered incarcerated because it stays in a closed pot for the duration of its preparation!


Ingredients


  • 2 pounds baby octopus, cleaned

  • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 cup wine (since I was pairing this with Vernaccia di San Gimignano, I used some leftover white wine)

  • salt and pepper to taste


Procedure

In a large pot - I used a Dutch oven - heat 1 tablespoon olive oil until it shimmers. Place the octopus and onions in the pot and pour in the wine. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the pot and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover. Let braise for 90 minutes.


To serve, uncover and raise the heat on the pot to bring the liquid to a boil. Let the sauce reduce until thickened. Serve with roasted potatoes and a green salad.


That's a wrap for my offering for this month's #ItalianFWT Tuscany event. The group will be back next month when our founder, Jen of Vino Travels, hosts us through an exploration of Emilia Romagna and Liguria. Stay tuned!

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