It’s one of this never-fail comfort foods, the coming together of 3 beautiful ingredients – octopus, fresh herbs and ouzo – that make an unforgettable sea risotto. Ouzo gives a nice, star-anise depth of flavor that you will absolutely love.

Serves: 4 Preparation time: 10′ Cooks in: 30′ Ready in: 40′

4 baby octopuses
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
350 g Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice
50 g butter
500 ml vegetable stock
1 garlic clove
50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, peeled, finely chopped
1/2 cup ouzo
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp fennel fronds or dill, finely chopped
salt, freshly ground black pepper

Step 1
For the octopuses: Carefully cut out both eyes using a knife. Find the mouth/beak of octopuses. Push them out and remove completely. Cut a slit in the heads with a knife. Turn heads inside out. Remove guts without breaking ink sac. Rinse octopuses under running water, place in a heavy pot with vinegar and 1 cup of water. Simmer until tender, for about 45 minutes. Transfer on a plate and when cool enough to handle cut in chunks or use them whole. Reserve any pot juices and mix with vegetable stock.

Step 2
Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium heat and cook onion for 2 minutes. Then stir in garlic for 1 minute until fragrant. Stir in rice for 1 minute. Add ouzo and stir for 2 minutes. Gradually add stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring often for about 20 minutes until rice is cooked and creamy or according to your taste.

Step 3
Remove pan from heat and stir in butter, tomato, herbs and octopus. Cover pan with lid and rest for 3-4 minutes. Serve warm with pepper.

Photo: George Drakopoulos – Food styling: Τina Webb 

Και η συνταγή στα ελληνικά: Ριζότο με χταπόδι και ούζο