Recipe: Octopus Bavette

Bavette tal-qarnit (Ritratt ta' Victoria Cassar)

Aqra bil-Malti: Riċetta: Bavette bil-qarnit

Even if the octopus season in Malta is coming to an end, you can use imported or frozen octopus which is available all year round. This plate of bavette in a traditional Mediterranean sauce has a wonderful fresh taste.

Time: 1hr and 20 minutes, (plus cooling time)

Serves: 4


  • 400 g bavette pasta (you can use linguine or spaghetti)
  • 1 Kg Octopus (cleaned, frozen)
  • 150 ml Olive oil
  • 150 ml white wine
  • 4 firm plum tomatoes, deseeded and diced into small cubes,
  • 2 large onions, thinly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons black olives, sliced
  • 1 chilli pepper, deseeded and thinly chopped
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Zest of ½ a lemon
  • Peel of ½ a lemon
  • Bay leaf
  • Mint leaves
  • Fresh chopped parsley, to serve



  1. Place the frozen octopus in a pot, add enough water to cover it and add the bay leaf and the lemon peel. Put the pan on a high heat until it starts to boil, then lower the heat, cover the pan partially and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes. Let the octopus cool down in the same water, then drain it, remove  the beak etc., and cut it up into pieces.
  2. Cook the bavette in a large pot of boiling salted water until it is al dente.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion until it becomes translucent, then add the garlic and fry for a little longer. Add the octopus, the chilli, the lemon juice and zest. Pour in the wine and let it heat up and reduce a little bit then add the olives, mint and tomatoes. Stir until everything heats up properly, whilst making sure that you do not crush the tomatoes.   
  4. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce in the pan and stir it in properly for around a minute.
  5. Serve immediately and sprinkle with chopped parsley. You can also add more olive oil if you want to.

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