1-cacciucco-plated copy

Very soon I will be back in London and it will be the end of my lovely Italian meals unless I decide to recreate cacciucco alla Livornese in my own kitchen which I doubt somehow. Not so much because I cannot get the different fish and seafood that I need for this amazing fish stew (or soup depending on who describes it) but really because the pleasure of eating it in my kitchen, however lovely it is, will never equal that of enjoying it while looking out at the fabulous sunset that evening.

2-cacciucco-sunset 2 copy

Still, I was very happy to learn how to make it from lovely Bea who is a terrific cook and who also has the prettiest daughter ever, Asia. I am not giving measures here because Bea does not cook this way but I will describe the process and I am sure you will be able to work out the proportions.

First you need to shop for the fish and seafood and you will need three different fish: 1 rascasse, and 2 others which name I have forgotten; and if the fishmonger will not clean them for you, you will have to do it like Bea who not only gutted the fish but also cut off all the fins.

3-cacciucco-fish for broth and cleaning

Then you need to clean both the squid and octopus which is quite a messy job.

4-cacciucco-cleaning the squid copy

Bea also beat the octopus to tenderise it.


She then put the fish in one pot, together with an onion, a carrot and a couple of sprigs of parsley. She covered them with water and added salt and a few grains of pepper. After that, she took a pressure cooker and put the squid and octopus in it, together with a drizzle of olive oil, dried chillies, a clove of garlic, a few cherry tomatoes, half a lemon and a few sage leaves and she cooked everything until completely tender.

5-cacciuco-making the broth

While the fish was cooking, Bea cleaned the mussels and rinsed the clams.

6-cacciucco-mussels and clams

And she put the langoustines and fish steaks away in the refrigerator because she was not going to use them until the very end before serving the cacciucco for dinner.

7-cacciucco-langoustines copy

We now had some time and we went away to the pool while Bea arranged some sunflowers in a vase.

9-infinity pool copy

8-campolecciano-sunflowers copy

When the time came to prepare the sauce for the cacciucco, Bea sent lovely Asia to call us back to the kitchen and we reluctantly left the gorgeous sea view. Bea had already brought out the manual moulinette to mince the fish and a large deep sauté pan to make the sauce. She removed the fish from the broth, boned and skinned it then put the flesh in the moulinette. Then she took the squid and octopus out of the pressure cooker and trimmed them before cutting them into bite-sized pieces.

91-cacciuco-boning the fish & putting it in mincer copy

92-cacciuco-squid and octopus

93-cacciucco-cutting the octopus copy

After that she minced the fish in the moulinette, adding broth to make it easier and quicker. She also strained what remained of both broths and added it to the minced fish.


Now that she had her fish and seafood ready, it was time to make the sauce and despite it being high summer, she used passata rather than fresh tomatoes explaining that the taste would be more intense. She chopped a little flat-leaf parsley to make soffritto adding a whole clove of garlic which she would discard later – surprisingly most of my Italian friends hate garlic. Once she could smell the parsley and garlic, she added the passata and let it cook for a while until the tomatoes darkened and became quite concentrated. She then added some of the fish broth.

94-cacciuco-making the sauce

She let the sauce bubble for a few more minutes then added the chopped squid and octopus and more fish broth.

96-cacciucco-adding the squid and more fish broth

97-cacciuco-adding the clams copy

She then added the clams, covered the pan and let the sauce simmer for a little longer before arranging the fish steaks quite neatly in the sauce and cooking them covered for half an hour.

98-cacciucco-adding the fish steaks copy

This is when I would have done it quite differently and not added these until the very end with the mussels and langoustines. They needed more or less the same time to cook and certainly not as long as she gave them.

99-cacciuco-adding mussels & langoustines copy

As for how to serve cacciucco, you first need to line each plate with two or three pieces of toasted Tuscan bread (without salt) then you pour enough sauce to cover the bread and arrange a little of the fish and seafood over the bread. And you need to serve it immediately while it is hot and before the bread absorbs too much of the sauce. In fact, this where I would also differ with tradition and serve the cacciucco without bread although I wouldn’t dare do that to any of my Italian friends, and certainly not to Bea!

There is 9 comments on this post

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Grazie, è bellissimo! Non ci sono parole per descrivere la mia felicità.

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    anche io sono molto felice perche ti piace il post. il cacciucco era buonissimo 🙂

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    my god, Anissa, this is utterly beautiful, all those frutti di mare. and in that location, must have been such a treat. x shayma

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    it was shayma, totally wonderful. nearly over now as i am about to go back home 🙁

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    complimenti bello il blog. brava Bea,confermi sempre la tua bravura!!!! tvb <3

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    grazie tamasa. e vero che bea e molto brava, e il cacciucco era buonissimo!

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    fantastico, sei stata bravissima è come essere li e io posso dirlo perchè c’ ero.
    un elogio a Beatrice cuoca raffinata e straordinaria

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    grazie daniela. bea sara molto contento del tui complimenti. e io sono molto contenta che il post ti piace 🙂

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Grazie Daniela dei complimenti e spero di vederti presto. Ma un grande ringraziamento và ad Anissa che ha fatto un blog meraviglioso pieno di colori . Bacini a tutti e di nuovo grazieeeeeeeeee

Leave a Comment

Warning: Undefined variable $user_ID in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/comments.php on line 38