Marechiara Zuppa di Pesce
Italian Seafood Soup for Pasta
Marechiara or Zuppa di Pesce is an Italian light seafood tomato based broth which is fine by itself, but even better with pasta. Of course you can serve it with good Italian bread as well. Either way, this is the perfect soup for someone that loves seafood and wants a little taste of all that the ocean has to offer.
It originates from Naples in Southern Italy and is great in Summer but also can be for the traditional Christmas Eve Feast of the 7 Fish if you add a few ingredients. There are 2 ways to go with this recipe. You can cook the seafood first, then put into the pan along with the pasta. The other way to go is to cook the seafood in the pan with the sauce, but you have to add the seafood from what cooks the slowest to the fastest in “shifts” one at a time. For example, the shellfish should go in first, and the calamari last. No matter which way you choose, cook the lobster tail separately and add it at the very end as this is going to be the “star” of the plate and probably the most expensive piece of seafood.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 4):
- 2 Lobster Tails, each split so there is one half tail per plate
- 1/2 pound shrimp
- 1/2 pound calamari
- 1/2 pound scallops (you can substitute baby bay scallops just remember they cook much faster)
- 1 pound fresh mussels
- 2 dozen little neck clams
- 1 Cup chopped diced tomatoes
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- olive oil
- Crushed Red Pepper
- Salt & Pepper
Preparation is key here. Prepare all the ingredients first. It is not difficult but the organization is important because it is all about timing. Only once everything is prepared and ready for cooking, then you can begin:
- Boil salted water for the pasta. You can use spaghetti or linguine, whichever you prefer. This should take 15 minutes.
- Heat the olive oil and garlic in a pan with a mere pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Once the garlic lightly browns and becomes fragrant, add in the white wine and chopped diced tomatoes
- Add in clams, mussels, and swordfish, cod or tuna chunks
- After 2 minutes add in scallops and shrimp
- Once the shrimp turn pink, add in sliced calamari
- Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Drain pasta, add into the pan, toss all very well, then turn off heat and allow to sit for a minute.
- Garnish with fresh chopped parsley
VARIATION: If you choose to cook your seafood first, it is not a bad idea, but be sure to add some clam juice into the broth so you still get that seafood broth taste. You can find cooked, clean shrimp in any supermarket. Clams do not need to be cooked to be consumed, so don’t be afraid to shuck (open) them first and add them in toward the end. Mussels can also be purchased cooked with shells removed from most supermarkets. Fish should be simmered slowly in the sauce until they are cooked through. Again, you can purchase most of this seafood already cooked so all you have to do is toss it into the sauce and allow it to heat through.