Polpo Ubriaco – Drunken Octopus


Today I made another recipe with one of my favorite ingredients, the octopus 🙂

It’s a typical recipe from Tuscany (polpo bria’o in the local dialect), but also from Sicily (purpu mpriacu in the local dialect), it’s very simple and you need very few ingredients.

It is called ubriaco (drunken) simply because it is simmered in red wine 🙂

Like always, I use to buy the octopus fresh and then I freeze it for at least some days, this will make it more tender. Otherwise you can hit it when fresh, like in the past.

Let’s see.


INGREDIENTS (4 people):

  • 1-1,2 kg octopus
  • 0,5 l red wine
  • 3 cloves of garlic (or 1 small onion if you prefer)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chili
  • 1 bay leaf
  • fresh parsley (optional)


  1. First of all clean the octopus if your fish seller didn’t do it (remove the ink bag in that case). Then remove the beak and the eyes. Keep the top of the tentacles and then cut the largest part of the tentacles into pieces, not too small and not too big. Cut also the head into pieces, I also removed the skin from the head, and I cut the thicker membrane between the tentacles.
  2. Take a large pan and heat a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil, 3-4 tablespoons.
  3. When the oil is hot add the garlic and the chili. When the garlic gets some color remove it, then add the octopus and keep the heat high, until it gets a nice color and the top of the tentacles get curly. 2-3 minutes should be enough. The octopus will release some of its water, it’s normal.
  4. Then add the red wine and keep the heat high for the first few minutes, until the alcohol smell is gone.polpo_ubriaco_4
  5. Then set the heat lower, add the bay leaf and the fresh parsley chopped into small pieces, and cover the pot. For an octopus of this size you should need about 45-50 minutes. After that time control if the octopus is properly cooked, otherwise wait other 5-10 minutes.  Take a wooden stick and control if the octopus is cooked: the stick has to enter easily in the meat.
  6. Serve it with potatoes, or a fresh salad, and a slice of good bread to clean the sauce from the dish 🙂




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