Italian Seafood Stew


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." Plus:  F&W's Ultimate Fish Cooking Guide 

Italian Seafood Stew
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 45 mins


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped

  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped

  • 1 white onion, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Sicilian)

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds cleaned squid—bodies cut into 1/2-inch rings, tentacles halved

  • 2 cups dry white wine

  • One 28-ounce can tomato puree

  • 2 lemons—zest of one peeled in strips with a vegetable peeler, zest of the other finely grated

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup bottled clam broth

  • 12 ounces mussels, scrubbed

  • 12 ounces littleneck clams, scrubbed

  • 12 ounces shelled and deveined large shrimp

  • 12 ounces skinless striped bass fillet, cut into 2-by-1-inch pieces

  • 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.

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