This recipe is an easy alternative to the signature dish of Tuscan port city Livorno, the cacciucco or fish stew. Be sure to buy your baby octopus already cleaned to cut down on preparation time.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (72 votes)


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 kg baby octopus, cleaned
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed, plus one whole clove for rubbing grilled bread
  • 1 small red chilli, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 180 ml (¾ cup) red wine
  • 1.5 litres (6 cups) fish stock (or vegetable stock or water) to cover
  • 400 g can peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar (optional)
  • chopped parsley and grilled bread, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.

Place a medium saucepan or casserole pot over high heat, add olive oil and sear the octopus. When the octopus has been seared all over, lower the heat and add the onion, shortly followed by the garlic and chilli. Season with salt and pepper. When the onion has softened, add the red wine and simmer until reduced. Add the stock to just cover and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
Add the tomato and cook for a further 15 minutes on medium-low heat or until the octopus is very tender. Top up with water or stock as necessary if the liquid is reducing too quickly. If you like a splash of sourness, add the vinegar.

Serve with chopped parsley and grilled bread rubbed with a raw clove of garlic.


Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto. Food preparation by Nick Banbury and Cynthia Black.