Fish soup and shellfish – Cacciucco

Fish soup and shellfish - Cacciucco

The origins of CACCIUCCO (fish soup) are very old: in fact, the flat Livorno have been prepared for the first time by the Phoenician. This soup, made with the cheapest fish was prepared in the sixteenth century in the galleys to be served in chained rowers. In Tuscany, the CACCIUCCO was poor dish and, over time, he acquired the signified “blend” which is why we speak of several recipes for CACCIUCCO – fish, game, meat, etc cicer.

Even if it is the traditional CACCIUCCO remains that of fish. A Livorno legend a fisherman who was out at sea was caught in a storm and died. Finding themselves in poverty, children of the fisherman, went to the port to ask fish to other fishermen. Each of them offered to children different fish and shellfish with which their mothers of children prepared a soup which then poured into a bowl, where she placed slices of bread. All the neighbors then asked where was this wonderful fragrance.

Fish soup and shellfish - Cacciucco

Ingredients for 4 people

  • Peeled tomatoes – 200 g
  • Garlic – 5 cloves
  • Carrot – 1
  • Onions – 3
  • Lobster – 100 g
  • Shrimp – 100 g
  • Prawns – 100g
  • Slipper lobsters – 100 g
  • Cuttlefish – 100 g
  • Grondin – 100 g
  • Rascasse – 100 g
  • Octopus – 100 g
  • Squids – 100 g
  • Clams – 200 g
  • Mussels – 200 g
  • Dogfish – 200 g
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • White bread – 8 slices
  • Chili Pepper
  • Parsley – 2 tablespoons
  • Celery – 1 branch
  • Red wine – 1 glass
  • Salt

Fish soup and shellfish - Cacciucco


Clean all the fish (being careful especially mussels) and keep the giblets (sets) to be used for the broth. Cut the larger fish into two or three pieces to ensure even cooking. Cut the cuttlefish and octopus straps. Put the fish and trimmings for the broth in a saucepan and add the carrot, celery and onion finely chopped, also add the parsley, a clove of garlic and salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then lower the flame and simmer for 30-40 minutes on low heat.

Meanwhile, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan and brown over medium heat chopped onions. Finely chop 2 cloves garlic, parsley and chilli and also cut the tomatoes. When the onion is golden, add the spices and stir for at least one minute before adding the octopus and cuttlefish strips. Then increase slightly heat, salt and let it brown stirring often. When shellfish start to become golden, wet with red wine and add the tomatoes. Cook for about half an hour until the octopus and cuttlefish are tender and the sauce is reduced.

Fish soup and shellfish - Cacciucco

The fish stock should be prepared; retrieve small pieces of flesh that was part of the fish and put them aside. Then, pass the broth through the mill using the thin disk and much overwhelming trimmings and edges that make it more dense and flavorful broth. Add the broth to the sauce and continue cooking after also incorporated the pieces of flesh that you set aside.

Make then open the mussels in a pan over high heat, discard those that are closed or empty. After filtering the resulting liquid, add it to the sauce. Then start adding the fish in the following order: the slipper lobster, lobster, sea dogs, Racasse and gurnard. After a few minutes, add the mussels and cook for about 15 minutes. Next, fry the slices of bread, rub with garlic and spread them on plates. Add CACCIUCCO it on bread slices and serve hot.


According to Livorno tradition, CACCIUCCO should be cooked in a clay pot, which is the most suitable for the preparation of the fish. The CACCIUCCO is accompanied by Chianti wine Pisan hills located near the Livorno coast. The secret of a good CACCIUCCO lies above all in the freshness of the fish, to be caught on the day of preparation CACCIUCCO.

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