Classic Fish Stew from LivornoClick to Play

Classic Fish Stew from Livorno

Cacciucco alla Livornese

Mary Ann Esposito


This dish originated with fishermen in Livorno; they sold the best of their catch and used what was left over and unwanted at day's end to make fish stew. A variety of fish went into the pot including squid, monkfish and cod. Tradition dictates that at least 5 different types of fish be used, one for each of the "c"s in the word cacciucco, which means mixture.

In this preparation start by adding he fish that takes the longest to cook. Make sure all the fish is cut the same size to keep down cooking time. This dish from start to finish should take about 25 minutes and is even better the next day. Crackling, crusty bread and a crisp salad make the meal both wholesome and complete. This stew is usually cooked in an earthenware pot atop the stove. Use your heaviest pot.


1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup parsley leaves
8 basil leaves
1/4 cup Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 cups peeled and diced plum tomatoes
1 cup clam juice, fish bouillon or water
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or more to taste
1/2 pound cleaned squid, cut into 1-inch rings
1/2 pound swordfish, skinned and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 pound medium shrimp (about 13) shelled or bite-size pieces of cod or other firm fish
1/4 pound sea scallops
1/4 pound monk fish
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
8 toasted bread slices


In a food processor or by hand, mince the onion, garlic, parsley and basil together. Heat the oil in a heavy-duty pot and stir in the minced onion mixture. Cook over low heat until the ingredients soften, then stir in the pepper flakes and cook 1 minute longer.

Raise the heat to high, pour in the wine and allow most of it to evaporate. Lower heat and stir in the tomatoes, clam juice and salt. When bubbles just begin to appear on the sides of the pot, begin adding the fish pieces in the order given, allowing the squid to cook for 5 minutes before adding the swordfish. Cook just until the fish turns opaque or whitish looking and flakes easily with a fork and the shrimp have turned pink. Stir in the lemon juice and correct the salt, if necessary.

Ladle the soup over the toasted bread slices and serve piping hot.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA IN TUSCANY by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press.

item recipe is featured in Episode 1319 of Season 13.

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    silverio califano

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    Fantastic website, and the way you included the videos makes it all the better! Can't say enough good things about it. DELICIOUS!!!!!
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    Michele Speciale-Munoz

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    ENJOY cooking & trying new recipes to cook for family & friends!!!☺

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