Fish Stew Alla Livornese Cooking Recipe – Cacciucco Alla Livornese Recipe

Fish Stew Alla Livornese Cooking Recipe – Cacciucco Alla Livornese Recipe

This fisherman’s dish was originally created to make use of less well-known fish that were therefore more difficult to sell. Now all the coastal towns in Tuscany have developed their own version.

Serves 8

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 lb. (500 g) octopus and/or cuttlefish and/or calamari
  • 2 lb. (1 kg) fish (mackerel, red mullet, redfish, grenadier, red snapper, large moray eels, conger eel, bar, or any rockfish for soup)
  • 10 oz. (300 g) dogfish
  • 16 spiny lobsters and/or king-size shrimp
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • A few sprigs of parsley
  • 1 Thai/bird (bird’s eye) chili, or to taste
  • 1 lb. (500 g) fresh, ripe tomatoes or
  • 10 oz. (300 g) canned, peeled tomatoes
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 8 slices of bread
  • Salt

Fish Stew Alla Livornese Cooking Recipe - Cacciucco Alla Livornese Recipe 1

Cooking Method

  • Peel the onion and chop finely.
  • Peel the garlic cloves and crush one clove (keeping the other for rubbing the toast); wash the parsley, remove the stalks, and chop enough for 2 tablespoonfuls; deseed the chili and chop finely.
  • If necessary, peel the tomatoes (after immersing for a few seconds in boiling water, then in cold water).
  • Cut the peeled tomatoes into quarters.
  • Clean the octopus and cuttlefish thoroughly; cut them into pieces.
  • Clean all the fish (leaving them whole).
  • If necessary, cut the dogfish into pieces.
  • Wash the crustaceans.
  • Brown the onion in a saucepan with the crushed garlic, chopped parsley, and sage in a little olive oil.
  • Add the peeled tomatoes, the tomato paste, and the chili, leave to cook for 20 minutes.
  • Add the octopus and cuttlefish, cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add the fish, beginning with the largest and finishing with the smallest to ensure the cooking is even.
  • Leave to cook for about 20 minutes (depending on the size of the fish), stirring very gently so they do not break up.
  • Five minutes before the end of the cooking process, add the spiny lobsters.
  • Toast the slices of bread on a griddle, rub with the remaining garlic clove, drizzle with olive oil, and place the fish on top, taking care not to break up the more fragile fish.

Suggested food/wine match

  • Fertuna, Plato Rosso—Maremma Toscana IGT
  • San Fabiano, Cerviolo chardonnay bianco di Toscana IGT

Chef’s notes

You can add a handful of cleaned mussels 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
For a more refined version, remove the fillets from the fish and set them aside. Cook the bones and heads with the tomato and the vegetables then pass everything through a vegetable mill. Cook the octopus, cuttlefish, and fish fillets in the resulting sauce.

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