Livorno Fish Stew for Two – Cacciucco Recipe
This is my version of a very well known Tuscan recipe for Livorno Fish Stew adapted so that you can make it for just two people. It’s simplified and pared down – and the end result is a kind of Italian Bouillabaise if you like…known in Tuscany as Cacciucco.
The story goes that fishermen in Livorno used to make this fish stew with whatever fish they had left at the end of the day. So far as I can tell there is no standard version, it’s one of those things that you make using the available fresh fish. My version is scaled back to feed two people and although I’ve made it with fresh tomatoes, I’ve used rather a lot and reduced them down because you can’t get tomatoes with the same flavour in the UK as in Italy or any other Mediterranean country. It sounds like you need a lot of ingredients, but you can buy all the fish from one fishmonger and mix and match according to availability.
A simplified version of the famous Livorno fish stew from Tuscany adapted for two people
- 8 clams in shells
- 8 mussels in shells
- 4 ounces cod or any other firm white sea-fish
- 4 shell on green prawns
- 4 squid tubes
- 1 red chilli
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4-5 plum tomatoes skinned and chopped
- 1 stick of celery
- half an onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 glass of white wine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 slices rustic style bread
- handful of flat leaved parsley
Clean the squid and cut into rings, cut the cod into 2 inch chunks.
Dice the onion, celery and carrot finely and then stew in the olive oil for 10 minutes or so in a large casserole until the onion is transparent. Now add the tomato, wine, chili and most of the parsley. Reduce down for 20 minutes then zap with a hand blender.
While the sauce is reducing down soak the shellfish other than prawns in cold water and then put them in a microwave proof bowl with a little water and cook in the microwave for 3-4 minutes till the shells open. Discard any that don’t open.
Add the squid, prawns and cod to the tomato mix and cook for 5 minutes or so, then add the shellfish and warm through.
Toast the bread and place in two bowls, crush the garlic and spread over the toast.
Serve the fish stew spooned over the bread, check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary, garnish with a few sprigs of parsley and enjoy.
If you are thinking of trying this yourself, you might want to take a look at my post about enjoying Livorno Fish Stew (the Italian name is Cacciucco) in Livorno itself (and missing visiting the fish market) – it’s a must-do trip if you are visiting Tuscany and want to go beyond Pizza and Pasta. From a taste and colour profile, I think what is missing from my version is cuttlefish – which is practically unavailable in the UK. So if I try making this recipe again I will definitely look harder, just to see if I can make a more authentic dish
Want to try for yourself? why not pin this post for later. Do let me know how you get on too!