Octopus in tomato sauce

    1 hour 30 min

    Enjoy this traditional recipe from Malta which makes a very flavourful sauce for octopus with potatoes, tomatoes, red wine and a hint of citrus that can be served over spaghetti, or just on its own.

    13 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 675g octopus
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
    • 1 teaspoon curry powder
    • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 250ml red wine
    • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
    • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
    • 2 (400g) tins whole peeled tomatoes
    • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
    • 1 (200g) tin petits pois, drained
    • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
    • 10 whole pitted ripe olives
    • 4 bay leaves
    • 1 teaspoon sugar

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Ready in:1hr30min 

    1. Place the octopus into a large pot and fill with enough lightly salted water to cover. Bring to the boil, and then simmer over medium heat until octopus is opaque, about 15 minutes. Drain and allow to cool slightly; cut into bite-size pieces.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, mint leaves, curry powder and mixed spice; cook and stir until onion is soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the octopus pieces, wine, lemon zest and orange zest. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to blend the flavours, then stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree, petits pois, potatoes, olives and bay leaves. Cover and simmer over low heat until potatoes and octopus are tender, about 45 minutes.

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    Reviews in English (9)


    Excellent recipe!! Very easy to follow. I didn't have fresh mint but I put fresh basil instead  -  04 Oct 2012


    I was happy to find this recipe because I already had almost everything needed. The only things I had to change were to use some lime zest instead of lemon, frozen peas instead of canned, and omit the black olives. I also added some crushed red pepper and cayenne pepper for spice! I used twelve baby octopi and scaled this for two servings but it still made a lot, enough for a lunch tomorrow. I served it with whole wheat angel hair pasta. It was very delicious! My boyfriend was impressed with how tender the octopus was. Thanks!  -  21 Jul 2008  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    While, it's true that baby octopus cooked this way comes out fairly tender and not too fishy, this recipe, is to say the least, an injustice to such a food. I followed the recipe exactly as stated, and ended up with an overcooked, tomato soupy mess. The peas should not be added so early in the cooking process, as they turn to mush. The potato was completely pointless, and didn't compliment any flavors or textures. I looked up "mixed spice" on wikipedia, and was told it consisted of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. That combined with mint, citrus zest, and curry powder, made a confused and over spiced palette that did not compliment the octopus. There are simply too many things going on and getting cooked for too long, for this to be anything near an acceptable food. It wasn't horrible, but it sure wasn't worth an 1hr 30min. Don't spend time cleaning any octopus to make this meal!  -  25 Jan 2010  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)