Cacciucco (Tuscan fish stew)

Cacciucco is a fish stew from Livorno, a port on the coast of Tuscany, and it should contain five types of seafood. This recipe comes from Caldesi in Campagna, an Italian restaurant in Bray.


6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole and lightly crushed
4 small squid, cleaned and chopped into bite-sized pieces
200ml white wine
400g tin plum tomatoes
300g skinless, boneless fillet gurnard or hake, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
300g clams, cleaned
300g mussels, cleaned
12 king or tiger prawns, shells on
500ml fish stock
crusty white bread or sourdough, thickly sliced and toasted


  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep, lidded frying pan. Fry the onion for 5-7 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and some seasoning, and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the squid, put the lid on the pan and cook for a few minutes, shaking the pan frequently. Remove the lid and add the wine – leaving the lid off let the wine reduce for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, bash them with a wooden spoon to break them up a bit (they will also break down during cooking) and cook for 20 minutes. Add the gurnard, clams, mussels, prawns and stock, and bring to the boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. At this point discard any closed clams and mussels. Taste to adjust the seasoning, then serve in warm bowls, garnished with parsley and accompanied by crusty bread. Some Livornese put the bread at the bottom of a soup bowl and ladle the soup on top of it to become soaked in the glorious juices!

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