Italian Fish Stew (Brodetto di Pesce Alla Marchigiana)
“The Tucci Cookbook
” photographer Francesco Tonelli contributed this recipe, which was handed down to him from his mother. This seafood soup in the style of the Marche region can be served as a main course over boiled rice or pasta. It also can be a starter, paired with slices of toasted bread that have been drizzled with olive oil. Stanley Tucci recommends pairing the stew with a light or medium white wine.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Stanley Tucci recommended using rockfish, halibut or striped bass steak, along with scrod, snapper or cod fillets.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup tomato paste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound rockfish, halibut or striped bass steak, bone-in, skin removed, cut into 6 to 8 portions
1 ¼ pounds scrod, snapper or cod fillets, cut into 3-inch chunks
½ pound cleaned calamari, cut into 2-inch chunks
6 to 8 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 tablespoons torn fresh basil
1. Warm olive oil in a large, wide saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in onion, bay leaves and garlic and cook until the onion softens and is golden yellow, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and generous grindings of pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, to sweeten the paste with the onion, about 2 minutes. Stir in 3 cups water and season the sauce with salt. Bring to a slow simmer over low heat. Cook to thicken and reduce the sauce, about 20 minutes.
2. Add the rockfish (or other fish), cover the pan and cook over low heat to soften slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the scrod (or other fish) and the calamari. Do not stir the fish, as it may break. Instead, shake the pan back and forth to incorporate the new fish and coat it with some of the sauce. Cover and cook to soften slightly, about 7 minutes. Add the shrimp, cover and cook until they just begin to turn pink, about 3 minutes.
3. Remove pan from the heat and set aside, allowing the fish to finish cooking off the heat, about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and garnish with the basil. Serve immediately.