Octopus with Orzo Pasta (Manestra)

Octopus with Orzo Pasta (Manestra) is a beloved Greek summery dish. Succulent octopus cooked in its own juices with fresh tomato and aromatic spices. Who said Manestra can only be prepared with meat and not Molluscs? Here you will find my traditional homemade Manestra recipe with Octopus. This recipe is very famous during the summer months in Greece for obvious reasons!

How do I clean Octopus?

Cleaning the octopus is easy if you follow some crucial steps. Start by cutting the sac or tummy of the octopus off. Turn it inside out and remove the internal organs. This is where the ink sac is present. Take care when removing it so that you don’t break it. Continue by removing the beak which is in the middle, underneath the tentacles and the eyes.

How long should I boil Octopus for?

In a large pot, over medium heat, place the octopus and boil it for 45-50minutes. Remember to add vinegar and red wine along with spices. There is no need to add water as the octopus will exude its own juices.

How do I prepare this Octopus with Orzo Pasta (Manestra)?

Preparing this summery Octopus with Orzo Pasta dish is quite easy. Start by cleaning and preparing the octopus (see section above).  Place the octopus in a pot along with onion, vinegar, red wine, bay leaves and allspice. Boil the octopus over medium heat for 45-50 minutes. There is no need to add extra water or salt in the pot. The octopus will exude its own liquids. Once the octopus is boiled. Remove it and keep the flavoursome juices. Add enough water so that you end up with roughly 950mls of juices. Lightly sautee the second onion with paprika and black pepper. Carry in by adding the orzo pasta, fresh tomato, tomato paste and stir. Lastly add the flavoursome Octopus juices, season with salt and let the orzo pasta boil for 8 minutes. Just before the orzo pasta is ready add the octopus pieces in the pot and stir.

What can I serve this Octopus with Orzo pasta (Manestra) Dish?

You can serve this succulent Octopus dish with a Traditional Greek Feta Salad (Horiatiki).


If you love Manestra, try my Chicken with Orzo Recipe (Manestra) recipe.

Octopus with Orzo Pasta (Manestra)

Rating: 4.8/5
( 65 voted )
Serves: 6 Prep Time: Cooking Time:


  • 1.2Kg Octopus
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 300gr orzo pasta
  • 150gr fresh tomatoes
  • 100gr dry red wine
  • 50gr oil
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 allspice peppercorns


  1. Start by cleaning and preparing the octopus. Cut the sac or tummy from the tentacles. Turn it inside out and remove the internal organs. Be careful not to break the ink sac. Continue by removing the eyes and beak which is present in the middle, underneath the tentacles. Wash it under running water and let it drain in a colander.
  2. Slice one onion into 4 large pieces.
  3. Place the octopus in a pot, over medium heat, and add the onion, bay leaves, allspice, wine and vinegar. Cover with the lid and let the octopus boil for 45-50minutes. There is no need to add either water or salt in the octopus when boiling. The octopus will exude its own liquids. If you happen to have a pressure cooker, then you are in luck, boil the octopus for 10 minutes alone!
  4. Once the octopus is boiled, remove it from the pot and set it aside. You can, at this point, slice the octopus at pieces of your preference.
  5. Use the flavoursome juices from the pot to boil the orzo pasta in. Simply remove the allspice peppercorns and bay leaves from the juices. Add enough water you that have approximately 950mls of juices in total.
  6. Slice the second onion finely and sautee it for approximately 5 minutes. Sautee until it turns translucent. Add paprika and black pepper and stir for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add the orzo pasta and stir until the orzo is lightly covered with oil. Carry on by adding the tomatoes and tomato paste, and stir again for another 2-3 minutes.
  8. Finally, add the Octopus juices, season with salt and boil the orzo pasta for 8 minutes.
  9. Before the orzo pasta is ready, add the Octopus pieces in and stir.



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