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CacciuccoCacciucco: Cacciucco is an Italian fish stew native to the western coastal towns of Tuscany and Liguria.It is a hearty stew consisting of several different types of fish and shellfish. According to one tradition, there should be five different types of fish in the soup, one for each letter c in cacciucco.
A wide variety of Mediterranean fish and shellfish may be used, such as red gurnard, armored gurnard, scorpion fish (scorfano) and small clams such as littleneck or manila, firm-fleshed fish such as monkfish or other whitefish, red snapper, John Dory, or grouper, mussels, shrimp and calamari. Traditionalist chefs add a stone taken from the sea to the dish. Crabs, eels, cuttlefish, octopus, bream, mullet, or anything else caught that day might be used.

Ingredients for Cacciucco

(serves 8):

  • 1/2 kg cuttlefish, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 kg octopus, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 kg mixed fish (gurnard, sea-robin and scorpion fish)
  • 1/2 kg mixed shellfish (clams and mussels)
  • 1/2 kg of prawns and shrimp
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 5 sage leaves
  • 1 chilli
  • 1 tin of tomato paste (400 gms)
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 12 slices of Tuscan bread
  • 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 400 ml fish sauce
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper powder, to taste

Method for Cacciucco:

  • Toast the tuscan bread slice, rubbed with a garlic clove, till crisp.
  • Season the toasted bread with pepper and keep aside.
  • Wash and clean all the octopus and fishes under clean running water.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat.
  • Fry in the chopped garlic, sage and chilly.
  • Pour in wine and add tomato paste.
  • Cook till the white wine is reduces to half.
  • Add in the roughly chopped octopus and cuttlefish.
  • Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir occasionally.
  • Add in 1/2 kg of mixed fish.
  • Simmer till the fish is cooked through, takes about 15-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in another saucepan cook all the fish heads in fish stock.
  • Cook till the stock is reduced to half.
  • Blend and puree the fish heads with the reduced stock.
  • Strain the puree through a mesh.
  • Add the strained puree to the saucepan with fish cooking in it.
  • Add in the prawns and shrimp.
  • Add in all the shellfish.
  • Cover the saucepan.
  • Cook for 7-8 minutes until the mussels and clams open up.
  • Season the Cacciuccowith salt and black pepper powder.
  • Cacciucco is ready to be served.
  • Serve the Cacciucco in soup dish by placing the bread slice on the bottom and covering with fish soup.

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