Tuscan Cacciucco Fish Stew

A variety of fish, tomatoes, and onions makes for a delicious meal.

Cacciucco is a fish stew commonly made in the Northern Tuscany seaport of Livorno. At the end of a day at sea and after auctioning off the fish to both locals and fish markets, the fisherman takes his fresh fish and puts it into a pot with onions, garlic and fresh tomatoes topped off with a dash or two of red pepper! This flavorful dish takes your imagination directly to a beach restaurant where you sit outside on a deck, feeling the breeze gently on your face and saltwater fish in every tasty bite.

Serves 6

Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds (1/2 to 1 kilo) of mixed fish (see list below)
  • A half a medium onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • A bunch of parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 pound sliced fresh or canned plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Salt to taste
  • Crumbled or minced hot red pepper (about a half teaspoon, or to taste)
  • Toasted Italian bread rubbed with garlic


Ingredients for Cacciucco or Fish Stew

Fish: Go with what’s in season, keep it cheap! Example: sole, mullet, catfish, dogfish, goby, squid, octopus, fresh shellfish and shrimp. Chop the large fish, but leave the small ones whole.

Direction: Sauté in olive oil the onion, parsley, and garlic in the oil in a deep bottomed pot (5 minutes). Once the onion has turned translucent, add fish and turn with other ingredients in pan, (3 minutes).  Add wine, when the wine vapors are released (1 minute), stir in the chopped tomatoes and salt the mixture to taste. This is one of the few spicy Northern Italian dishes, add in red pepper.

Simmer the Cacciucco until the fish is done, 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, toast several slices of bread and rub them with a crushed clove of garlic.  Once the fish is done, line the bottoms of your bowls with the toasted bread, ladle the Cacciucco over them, and serve.