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5 from 16 votes

Zuppa di Pesce

A rustic seafood stew with clams, mussels, squid, shrimp, and cod in a tomato, white wine, and fennel broth.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots diced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional, to taste
  • 1 cup dry white wine such as sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, or chardonnay
  • 2 28 ounce cans plum tomatoes blender pulsed or hand crushed
  • 10 ounces clam juice
  • 3/4 pound calamari cleaned, tubes cut into 1/2" rings and large tentacles cut in half
  • 3/4 pound cod or other meaty white fish like monkfish, striped bass, red snapper, etc
  • 12 little neck clams scrubbed, see notes below
  • 1 pound mussels scrubbed and beards removed
  • 3/4 pound large shrimp approximately u26 size
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup parsley minced


  • Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy pot to medium-low and saute the shallot and fennel in extra virgin olive oil. After they soften a bit (5 minutes) add in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more until fragrant.
  • Next, add the crushed red pepper flakes, cook for 30 seconds, then add the wine and turn heat to medium-high. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to dislodge the brown bits. Cook the wine for 90 seconds then turn the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and clam juice. Cook the sauce at a moderate simmer for 10 minutes before adding any seafood.
  • Add the calamari and cook for 15 minutes to soften. Next, add the fish and cook for 5 more minutes, then add the clams and cover with a lid. Cook for 5-7 minutes longer or until the clams just start to open.
  • Finally, add the mussels and shrimp and cover with the lid. Cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through and the mussels open (about 5-7 minutes). Any clams or mussels that do not open should be discarded because they are most likely dead.
  • Taste test and adjust salt and pepper levels. When satisfied turn the heat off and add the parsley. Serve in bowls with toasted Italian bread that has been rubbed with a garlic clove. Also, drizzle your best extra virgin olive oil onto each plate as well. Enjoy!


  • Go easy on the salt since the shellfish will have a lot of it.  Season with salt and pepper to taste right at the end to get the flavors just right.
  • Serve lots of bread to mop up the sauce.  Toasted bread rubbed with a garlic clove is excellent to serve with zuppa di pesce.
  • Other types of clams and fish can be substituted.  Use what's fresh and available.
  • Mussels are normally sold cleaned with beards removed, but scrub and look over all of them before using and remove any beards. 
  • Seafood should be eaten right away but leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days in the fridge and can be gently reheated over the stovetop.


Calories: 650kcal | Carbohydrates: 26.9g | Protein: 76.9g | Fat: 19.2g | Saturated Fat: 3.2g | Cholesterol: 478mg | Sodium: 1037mg | Potassium: 1426mg | Fiber: 2.3g | Sugar: 3.5g | Calcium: 213mg | Iron: 17mg