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Italian Seafood Stew
© John Kernick

Italian Seafood Stew

  • ACTIVE: 45 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 45 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 6
  • HEALTHY
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • STAFF-FAVORITE

In this luscious, tomato-rich stew, Marco Canora cooks calamari slowly until it becomes supertender. He says calamari is absolutely essential to the success of the dish, because it releases its liquid as it simmers, which adds a huge amount of flavor to the sauce. "I'm a big fan of substitutions," he says, "but not in this case."

  1. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  2. 1 fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped
  3. 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  4. 1 white onion, finely chopped
  5. 1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Sicilian)
  6. Pinch of crushed red pepper
  7. 1 1/2 pounds cleaned squid—bodies cut into 1/2-inch rings, tentacles halved
  8. 2 cups dry white wine
  9. One 28-ounce can tomato puree
  10. 2 lemons—zest of one peeled in strips with a vegetable peeler, zest of the other finely grated
  11. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  12. 2 cups water
  13. 1 cup bottled clam broth
  14. 12 ounces mussels, scrubbed
  15. 12 ounces littleneck clams, scrubbed
  16. 12 ounces shelled and deveined large shrimp
  17. 12 ounces skinless striped bass fillet, cut into 2-by-1-inch pieces
  18. 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. In a very large, enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven, heat the 1/2 cup of olive oil. Add the fennel, celery, onion, oregano and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 15 minutes. Add the squid and cook over moderately low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the wine and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Cook until evaporated, about 20 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and strips of lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 40 minutes.
  3. Add the water and clam broth and bring to a boil. Remove and discard the lemon zest. Season the broth with salt and pepper. Add the mussels, clams and shrimp, cover and cook until most of the shells have opened, about 5 minutes. Add the striped bass and cook until opaque, about 2 minutes longer.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the parsley with the grated lemon zest. Spoon the stew into deep bowls and sprinkle with the gremolata. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Make Ahead The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Reheat before proceeding. Serve With Garlic-rubbed toasts.

Suggested Pairing

Seafood stews like this one are made all over Italy, but few wines go better with them than the bright, minerally whites of Liguria.