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Htapothi Makaronatha: Pasta in Octopus Sauce


Pasta in Octopus Sauce

Pasta in Octopus Sauce

Photo © N. Gaifyllia, licensed to About.com, Inc.

In Greek: χταπόδι μακαρονάδα, pronounced khtah-POH-thee mah-kah-roh-NAH-thah

A favorite in fishing villages throughout Greece and the islands, this dish can be made with fresh or frozen (defrosted) octopus. Ditalini ("little thimble") is the traditional pasta used.


  • 2 pounds of fresh or frozen octopus
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 pound of ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped (with juice)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 cup of dry red wine
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 pound of ditalini pasta


Wash the octopus in cold water and (if present) remove the hard center. Place in a saucepan with cold water and boil for 15 minutes. When it can be handled, cut into 1-inch pieces.

In a large frying pan or saucepan, sauté the onion in hot oil. When the onion softens, add the octopus and cook for 3 minutes. Dissolve the tomato paste in the wine and add, cooking over high heat for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, 1 cup of water, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Stir well, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour.

    Note: The sauce should be thick. If more water is needed during cooking, add boiling water 1/4 cup at a time.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. In a large serving bowl, toss pasta with the sauce and serve.

Yield: serves 4-5

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