Octopus in red wine

At one of the best pizzerias in Rotterdam, La Pizza, I once ordered the Polpo Affugato as a starter: octopus cooked in white wine. It was so amazing, I decided to create my own version with red wine and the secret ingredient: anis seeds. The preparation is as simple as my other octopus recipes (with olive sauce and with chorizo) with one main difference: I add wine to the pan. While the other recipes rely on the juices from the octopus, this one uses the wine. The richness of flavours you get from the three main ingredients is just wonderful: sweetness from the octopus, tanginess from the wine and sweet fragrance from the anis. I should always repeat this: don’t rush the process. To ensure the softness of the octopus, cook it long and slow.


  • 500gr octopus
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 5 pink peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 teaspoon anis seed
  • 250 ml red wine
  • 50 ml red wine vinegar


  1. Peel and cut the onion is small chunks. Peel and half the garlic.
  2. Heat a bit of oil in a deep pan. Fry the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the anis seeds, peppercorns and bay leaf and fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the wine and vinegar and bring to a boil. Add the octopus, cover and cook until soft on low heat about 2 hours.
  4. Cut the tentacles from the body of the octopus and discard the rest.
  5. Sieve the juices from the pan.
  6. Serve the octopus warm with some extra sauce.
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