Savory Seafood Stew

Main Course
Soups & Stews

Recipe courtesy of Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen 

Serves 6-8


For the Soup Base 

  • 2 quarts water 
  • One 35-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano) and their liquid 
  • 1½ cups dry white wine 
  • 2 small leeks, white parts only, trimmed, cleaned, and cut into 3-inch lengths (about 2 cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, trimmed and sliced thick 
  • 1 large onion, cut into thick slices 
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme 
  • Zest of ½ lemon, removed in wide strips with a vegetable peeler
  • ½ teaspoon loosely packed saffron threads 
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 
  • Salt 

To Prepare the Soup 

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled 
  • 2 small leeks, white parts only, trimmed, cleaned, and sliced ¼ inch thick (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin 
  • 4 medium calamari (about 1¼ pounds), cleaned, tentacles left whole, bodies cut crosswise into ½ inch rings
  • 18 medium sea scallops (about ½ pound)
  • 8 ounces fresh firm-textured fish fillets, such as salmon, snapper, or swordfish, skin removed, cut into 1-inch pieces 
  • 2 cups cooked cannellini beans (optional)
  • 24 mussels, preferably cultivated, cleaned 
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about ½ pound)
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • Garlic bread, for serving

Savory Seafood Stew

Savory Seafood Stew

Click image to enlarge


To make the soup base, combine the water,·, tomatoes, wine, leeks, carrots, onion, thyme, lemon zest, and saffron in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a lively simmer and cook until reduced by about ⅓, about 45 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup olive oil, season the mixture lightly with salt, and continue to simmer until the liquid portion of the soup base is reduced to about 8 cups, about 20 minutes. Strain the soup base into a 3-quart saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Discard the solids. (The soup base may he prepared up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated.) 

If you have prepared the soup base in advance, bring it to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Adjust the heat to very low and keep warm. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large (about 8-quart), heavy pot over medium heat. Add garlic, leeks, and onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is wilted but still crunchy, about 4 minutes. Add the calamari and cook, stirring, until they turn opaque, about 2 minutes. Pour in all but 1 cup of the hot soup base and bring to a boil. Stir in the scallops, fish fillets, and beans, if using. Adjust the heal to simmering and cook until the seafood is barely opaque at the center, about 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile, add the mussels to the soup base remaining in the saucepan. Increase the heat to high, cover the saucepan, and steam over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the mussels open, about 3 minutes. 

Stir the shrimp, parsley, and steamed mussels into the large pot of soup. Simmer until the shrimp is cooked through, about 1 minute. Check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into warm soup bowls, passing a basket of the bread of your choice separately.


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