Octopus Spaghetti | Spaghetti Al Polpo

The other night while eating out, James informed us that octopuses are extremely intelligent and that is why he would not eat them! I also learnt that they have 4 pairs of arms. I never thought of the tentacles as being pairs. What I do know is that it is the tentacles you need to make this octopus spaghetti.

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Octopus Spaghetti
Octopus Spaghetti

I have been trying to sort out the clothes I need for our September holiday as we are going to be away for longer than usual. And, we are travelling home during the daytime instead of overnight. I have travelling clothes that are comfortable to sleep in but what I need for the return flight are clothes that will be suitable for when we get off the plane in the evening here. Then, I also need to ensure that any winter wear I need is purchased now during our cold season. The temperature here at the moment is what I expect it to be in Europe at the time of the year we go so I am getting my wardrobe organized now. This is not as easy as it should be as I keep on changing my mind about what I am going to wear, and of course there is no guarantee I will feel like wearing those exact clothes in 3 months time. I have created a spreadsheet of the outfits I have chosen and all the bits and pieces I need to go with them. The hardest thing for me to ever find are socks in a variety of colours. Finding black socks is a doddle but brown, pink or even blue socks not so much. The place I buy most of my clothes at sells them in packs of 3 and there is always a colour I will never wear in the selection, or they have a pair of black socks in them. And I have more than enough pairs of black socks! Talking of pairs, as I said above, octopus legs are counted in pairs. Did you find that as strange as I did?

Octopus Spaghetti

Print Recipe
4.50 from 2 votes

Octopus Spaghetti

This method of cooking the octopus results in the most tender octopus I have ever had
Recipe Category: Italian
Makes enough for: 4 people
All Rights Reserved: Adapted from Made In Sicily, Giorgio Locatelli page 228


for the parsley and garlic garnish

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 handful flat leaf parsley

for the spaghetti with octopus

  • 1 frozen octopus
  • 2 red chillies
  • 90 mls olive oil, divided, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 large handful flat leaf parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 360 g dried spaghetti
  • 12 bella tomatoes, halved


for the parsley and garlic garnish

  • Crush the garlic clove on a chopping board using the back of a chefs knife
  • Place the parsley onto the board on top of the garlic
  • Chop finely and set aside

for the spaghetti with octopus

  • Defrost the octopus
  • Remove the head and discard
  • Cut the top off one of the chillies and remove the seeds
  • Place into a stock pot with the parsley and 30mls of the oil
  • Lightly crush the garlic cloves, leaving the paper on and add to the pot
  • Place the octopus in the pot, put the lid on and place on a low temperature on the stove
  • Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally, ensuring that the tentacles are covered by the cooking liquid
  • Remove from the heat and leave to cool until you can handle the octopus
  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil
  • Cut the tentacles into bite size pieces
  • Add salt to the boiling water and cook the pasta for a minute less than the package instructions
  • Place the rest of the oil into a large frying pan and heat over a medium temperature
  • Add the tomatoes and when slightly softened, crush with the back of a spoon
  • Finely chop the chilli and add to the pan
  • If the octopus cooking liquid is not too salty add 60mls to the pan, if it is too salty add the pasta cooking water instead
  • Add the octopus and heat through and season to taste
  • Drain the pasta, reserving some of the water, and add the pasta to the pan
  • Cook for 1 minute, adding some of the reserved cooking water if necessary
  • Toss through the garlic and parsley and serve drizzled with olive oil


I would recommend using frozen octopus for this as it means less work as the freezer does the tenderizing. If you can only find a fresh one, either place it into the freezer or bash it with a hammer.

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Octopus Spaghetti

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58 thoughts on “Octopus Spaghetti | Spaghetti Al Polpo

    1. Dave says the one we caught was quite small, but the recipe should work for what ever size octopus you can get, as long as the tentacles remain covered in liquid.

  1. Holy cow, you really meant octopus! Not something I’ve eaten or seen available here. You learn every day! And I love how you created a spreadsheet for your clothes….great way to get outfits to match and make sure you have what you need, but not too much either.

  2. Hi Tandy, I heard the same thing about the octopus, (being extremely intelligent). Did not know that freezing tenderizes, very informative post.

  3. Now this is a dish I can 100% get behind! I just LOVE octopus and I order it at Italian restaurants all the time. Can’t wait to try this one. Thanks for the great inspiration Tandy!

  4. What a seriously gorgeous pasta dish!! I love everything about it. I also want to hear more about your September trip!

  5. I’ve cooked octopus a few times and only got it right once. That time, I used oil to cook it in, and it was nice and tender. Using water just isn’t the same. So I’m glad to see that your method uses oil.

  6. Octopus is my favorite seafood, it’s bit of an effort but totally worth it! Great recipe, will try it next time I get hold of some octopus.

  7. I have never had octopus beforw and really not planning in near future too but Your recipe has taken away some of viewing fears! This really looks appetizing..

  8. My kids are quite advenutrous eaters and I think they would try it. I love how organized you are with a spread sheet for packing clothes!

  9. I’m with James- I’m conflicted about eating octopus. They are really intelligent and they’re also one of my favorite animals to see on a dive. On the other hand, they’re delicious. I would have to try this dish for sure.

  10. 5 stars
    Tandy I am in awe of your organisational skill, that’ is amazing and something I need to be better at. Your pasta looks amazing! I too stopped eating octopi for the same reason as James — even so I still look at it and remember that it tastes great. Love the spicy touch you added too.

  11. Like you had no idea that the tentacles came in pairs 🙂 Love what you made – the octopus looks delicious. That’s funny that you have a spreadsheet of your travel clothes..lol!!

  12. I didn’t know that octopus legs are considered pairs. What makes this even more strange is when I visit the podiatrist, he tells me I don’t have a pair of feet but just two feet that happen to appear similar but are in fact not a pair. I laughed about too many black socks. I like Bonds undies but if you buy them as a two pack, one pair is always white. So do I buy the pair and end up with too many white undies or buy them in singles and end up paying more? I went with the first option but have now reverted to the second as I don’t need any more white knickers!

  13. My husband would love this recipe, he loves octopus ! It looks absolutely delicious… Hmm, wonder how the kids would go, Bahaha.
    Thanks for sharing
    Gourmet Getaways

  14. 5 stars
    I have never cooked octopus before but I have enjoyed it. I wonder what this dish would be like if it was grilled.

  15. I didn’t know they were pairs! that makes me feel weird, kind of! Actually, I want this dish right now!
    Where are you going for your holiday?
    I love traveling! We are headed to the UK to see our family soon, it should be really fun, especially since they haven’t met B yet!

  16. Hi Tandy,

    How do I keep the octopus in only 30ml of oil for one hour without burning it?

    1. The octopus will release water as it slowly cooks. I use this method all the time and it really works. And I hope it works for you as well!

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