Octopus Mac and Cheese

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Mac and Cheese:

2 quarts heavy cream

2 cups milk 

8 ounces Cheddar, grated

8 ounces Jack cheese, grated

4 tablespoons onion powder 

2 tablespoons garlic powder 

Salt and pepper

One 1-pound box elbow macaroni

8 ounces mozzarella, grated


Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

1 octopus (4 to 5 pounds) 

2 cups cornmeal 

4 tablespoons chili powder 

4 tablespoons onion powder 

Salt and pepper

Chopped cooked bacon, for garnish

Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


Special equipment:
a deep-fry thermometer
  1. For the mac and cheese: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a saucepan, stir together the cream, milk, Cheddar, Jack, onion powder, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until creamy.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni to al dente in a large pot of salted water. Drain and add to the sauce. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish and top with the mozzarella. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  4. For the octopus: Fill a large Dutch oven about halfway with oil and slowly heat to 350 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer. Meanwhile, clean the octopus by running a knife under the outer skin and removing it; you should only see the white. Cut the octopus into small pieces.
  5. In a bowl, stir together the cornmeal, chili powder, onion powder and salt and pepper. Roll the octopus pieces in the spiced cornmeal until well coated. Deep-fry until golden and crispy, then drain on paper towels.
  6. Divide the mac and cheese among 4 bowls and top with octopus. Sprinkle with bacon and cilantro, and serve.