Brodetto marchigiano (fish and seafood stew) - Le Marche
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Categories: kids, healthy, dairy-free
Brodetto and fish and seafood stews by other names are traditional along the coasts of Italy. Brodetti (the plural of brodetto) were historically made by fishermen with the leftovers of their catch or damaged fish and so included many different types of fish and seafood. Today brodetto may often include prized fish and seafood.
The difference between a good brodetto and a great brodetto is the freshness of the fish and the flavour of the tomatoes. If you cannot get truly excellent tomatoes then use the best passata possible. This dish is traditionally made in a terracotta dish wide enough so that the seafood can be placed in a single layer not touching each other. If you don’t have a terracotta or claypot dish, use a thick bottomed pan.
There are different versions of brodetto depending on which town you are in along the Adriatic. Tomatoes are optional in some versions and others use different combinations of green peppers, pepper, chilli, saffron and/or vinegar so feel free to add these ingredients if you wish. Traditionally brodetto all’anconetana is made with 13 different types of fish but just try to get a variety you are happy with. While not traditionally to brodetto from Ancona (or really even brodetto made with tomatoes), I do like to add 1 to 2 pinches of saffron to the broth before the fish and seafood are added.
Recipe type: Secondo (main course)
Cuisine: Le Marche
Serves: 4
  1. Rinse the prawns and langoustines in cold water. Remove the prawn heads and set aside. Using clean kitchen shears, cut the sides of the mantis prawns (including the legs) off to more easily open them and eat them later. Cut the fish into tranches, reserving the heads and tails.
  2. Place the onion, garlic, parsley and olive oil in a terracotta pot over low heat and cook until the onion is soft.
  3. Add fish heads and bones and the seafood shells.
  4. Add the tomatoes, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Once the tomatoes and fish are soft and fall apart easily, remove the contents of the pot and place in a food mill with a medium die. Pass the contents through the die back into the terracotta pot. (If you don't have a food mill, then strain the contents through a fine mesh sieve. If you have a food processor or high powered blender or Thermomix, chop the remaining contents and push through the fine mesh sieve.) Discard the solids.
  6. Add salt to taste, vinegar and if you like, saffron. Heat the broth over low heat to a simmer.
  7. Begin to add the fish and seafood in the order of which take the longest to cook (add the thickest cut and meatiest pieces of fish first such as monkfish tails) and cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Add smaller, thinner cut and flat fish to the pot and cook another 10 minutes.
  9. Add the shellfish and cook for the final 10 minutes.
  10. Place a mixture of the different types of fish and seafood into each serving bowl. Pour the soup over the fish and serve with hot fett'unta to soak up the broth.
Recipe by Living a Life in Colour at