Octopus, basil pesto and olives, are used to create a modern twist on a centuries-old dish, couscous, as served at renowned Bar Meraviglia – a pop up Mediterranean oasis in Milan brought to you by Sanpellegrino Sparkling Fruit Beverages.
For those who can’t get to Milan, try this unique recreation of couscous to experience an explosion of Mediterranean flavors in the comfort of your own home.
The Sicilian cuisine, couscous, is as diverse as the many cultures that have visited this plentiful island in ancient times. Couscous for example, is a staple food of North Africa, has long been part of the traditional cuisine of Sicily, so much so, that there are dedicated festivals to the comfort food, year after year. In Trapani, Sicily, a traditional couscous dish is prepared with a fish soup, and is called Couscous alla Trapanese. Full of the flavour from the Mediterranean Sea, this is a perfect example of Sicilian cuisine – rich in its cultural diversity and bursting with fresh local flavours.
Couscous is a traditional Sicilian dish where the fragrant sea meets the plentiful sun-kissed land in a harmony that sings like the Mediterranean breeze. Small balls of semolina durum wheat form the perfect base to carry through the full flavour of octopus, accompanied by fresh and crunchy green beans and soft potatoes that all come together with aromatic basil pesto. Salty Ligurian olives provide bursts of flavour, perfectly balancing the dish, without being overpowering.
Stir in 2 tbsp of pesto in the couscous, set aside.
Place the bread along with the olives (well-drained) in a food processor and blitz until it resembles small bread crumbs.
Chop the octopus into bite size pieces. In a medium bowl, combine the octopus, beans and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, add the olive infused breadcrumbs and combine well.
Divide the couscous among two plates. Add the octopus and vegetable mixture. Top with a dollop of the remaining pesto. Decorate with fresh basil and serve immediately.
Traditionally, couscous dishes are baked in a terracotta bowl with floral decorations, the tagine, or the "pignatta di cùscu-su", as it is called in Trapani dialect.