Brodetto all'Anconetana

Mixed seafood stew

The name of the dish "Brodetto all'Anconetana" (pronounced BROH-deh-toe / al / AHN-coh-nay-tah-nah), literally translated as "Ancona's style broth", is a kind of seafood stew.  This dish has bragging rights to be the "original" of all the seafood soups in Italy.  Like many dishes of the tradition, it presents many different versions of it.  Some says you must use 13 different type of fish/seafood because 13 was the lucky number for the fishermen.  Others say the original version was in white sauce, and the tomato sauce was added after the 1600s.  The tradition suggests to use a crock skillet because the seafood needs to cook slowly, and the all the different versions say that the olive oil needs to be extra-virgin and high quality.  The other peculiarity of this seafood stew, compared to other kinds, is the use of the white wine vinegar, not very popular in the center of Italy, but mostly used for southern Italian recipes.

Total time:  80 minutes

Prep time:  15 minutues

Cooking time:  65 minutes

Serves 4

 

NOTE:  What's great about this recipe is you can use any seafood that you like, or what's in season.  We recommend combining different types:  shrimps/prawns (or both), with calamari/baby octopus, shellfish (mussels or clams) and a white fish.  The traditional 13 types can be a little excessive, but we recommend at least using 5 types.  Our recipe below calls for 5.
 

What you'll need:

  • At least 3 pounds of mixed seafood: 1 small bag of baby octopus, 1 small bag of shrimps (peeled), 1 small bag of prawns, 1 pound mussels, 1 large steak of cod.

  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil

  • 1/2 white onion chopped

  • 1 carrot chopped

  • 2-3 celery stalks chopped

  • 5 cloves of garlic

  • 1/2 glass of white wine vinegar

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced

  • Chopped parsley

  • 1 15 oz can plain tomato sauce

  • Salt

  • Black pepper

  • Red Chile flakes

  • Toasted bread 
     

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Directions:

1.  Start by making the soffritto.  Take a large cast iron pot or soup pot, and add a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil, the piled garlic cloves, chopped onion, carrot and celery.  Stir occasionally and cook for several minutes on medium/medium-high heat until the onion becomes translucent.  

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2.  Once translucent, add the white wine vinegar, turn up to high heat and let it evaporate for 8-10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  (WARNING:  the vinegar will give off a lot of aroma, so be prepared to get your nasal passages cleared!)

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3.  When the vinegar is evaporated, turn down the stove heat to medium and add the finely chopped parsley and cherry tomatoes.  Let cook for 5 minutes. 

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4.  Add the tomato sauce.  Stir and season to taste with salt, pepper and a touch of red Chile flakes.  Cook for ~10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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5.  Depending on the kind of seafood you use, program & stagger different cooking times:  We added first the small, baby octopus.  Cook for a minimum of 15 minutes.  We cooked for 20-25 minutes.  Keep lid closed while cooking.

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6.  Then add the cod, cubed in large pieces, and cook for 10 minutes.  Keep lid closed while cooking.

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7.  Then add the large prawns and cook for 5 minutes.  Keep lid closed.

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8.  Add the peeled shrimp and cook for another 5 minutes.  Keep lid closed.

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9.  Lastly, add the mussels and let cook for 5 minutes, or until they open.   (NOTE:  Make sure the mussels are clean!  It helps to soak in a large bowl of water prior to cooking, and tear off any sea particles attached to the shells).

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10.  At this point you can turn off the stove and let it cool down for a little while.  Either serve right away, or if cooking in advance, reheat the stove later before serving.  Serve in a bowl with toasted bread.  (the bread works great to soak up the juice!).

BUON APPETITO!

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