Cacciucco is an Italian fish stew native to the western coastal towns of Tuscany and Liguria. It is especially associated with the port city of Livorno in Tuscany and the town of Viareggio to the north. It is a hearty stew consisting of several different types of fish and shellfish. A wide variety of other ingredients are used in the broth, including various vegetables, spices, and seafood. According to one tradition, there should be five different types of fish in the soup, one for each letter c in cacciucco.
- 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. minced fresh sage leaves
- 12 oz. mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 1⁄2 tsp. red chile flakes
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp. minced parsley
- 12 oz. calamari, cleaned and cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 12 oz. baby octopus, cleaned and cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 (14-oz.) can chopped tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup fish stock
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 (1-lb.) monkfish filet, cut into 2″ pieces
- 12 oz. large shell-on shrimp
- 1 (1-lb.) red snapper fillet, cut into 2″ pieces
- 8 slices of country-style white bread
Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add parsley, sage, chili flakes, and 4 cloves garlic, minced, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. At first, add calamari and octopus, and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque, about for 4 minutes. Then add tomato paste, stir well, and cook until the paste has darkened slightly about 1 minute. Pour wine, and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes.
Add tomatoes along with their juice, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until seafood is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in stock, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add monkfish, and cook, covered, until just firm, about 5 minutes. Add snapper and shrimp to the pot and scatter mussels over top. Cook, covered, without stirring (so as not to break up the seafood), until the snapper is just cooked through and the mussels have just opened about 10 minutes.
Toast bread, and rub liberally with remaining garlic clove. Ladle stew between bowls, over bread or with bread on the side.