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Cacciucco alla Livornese: Tuscan fish soup

Leghorn cacciucco

How to make cacciucco alla livornese: original recipe typical of the gastronomic tradition and of the Tuscan poor cuisine and based on fish.

Cacciucco is one of the variations of the classic Tuscan fish soup, much appreciated by fish lovers. Tradition says that this dish is linked to a real legend , according to which the wife and children of a local fisherman who disappeared at sea received various types of fish from other fishermen in the area which were used to prepare a substantial soup, to be served with crunchy slices of bread.

What do you think, shall we dive in to discover this fabulous fish dish typical of Tuscany? Then follow us into the kitchen!

Leghorn cacciucco
Leghorn cacciucco

Preparation of Livorno-style cacciucco without bones

  1. To start you must clean all the fish and shellfish: start with the octopus , clean it (or buy it already gutted) and cut the tentacles roughly.
  2. Clean the cuttlefish by delicately detaching the head and tentacles, clean well under water and cut into chunks. Then clean the squid by extracting the cartilage from the head, then cut them into strips.
  3. Clean the monkfish (or monkfish) by gutting and filleting it, remember to keep aside the scraps such as tail, bone and head.
  4. Scale the scorpion fish, remove the tail, cut it along the back, remove the fins and fillet it without forgetting to keep the scraps aside. Carefully clean the scorpion fish fillets from the bones with the help of pliers.
  5. Finally clean the scampi by removing the tail and legs. Remove the carapace trying to keep the heads and all the waste intact , but remember to eliminate the internal casing.
  6. Then prepare the fish broth: heat a drizzle of oil in a saucepan with high sides and add a clove of garlic.
  7. Peel an onion, peel it, chop it and add it to the saucepan.
  8. Also add the scraps of the monkfish, scorpion fish and scampi. Complete with the parsley and put on the heat.
  9. Leave to flavor for a few moments then add about half of the white wine, let the alcohol evaporate then add the water, bring to the boil and cook for 45-50 minutes .
  10. In the meantime, start preparing the fish: finely chop the other onion and the chilli pepper.
  11. Pour the mixture into a saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil and the other clove of garlic, then leave to fry for a few minutes.
  12. Add the octopus and cook for a few minutes, then add cuttlefish and squid, mix and cook for 5 minutes.
  13. Pour in the white wine , let the alcohol evaporate then season with salt and pepper.
  14. Add the well-mashed peeled tomatoes and, if necessary, 1-2 ladles of hot, well-filtered fish broth.
  15. Cover with the lid and cook over a low heat for a long time (50-60 minutes should be fine, paying attention to the liquid part; if the fish soup is too dry, add more broth).
  16. Then add the scorpion fish and monkfish fillets and finally the scampi.
  17. Add some more fish broth so that the soup is nice and brothy, cook for another 10 – 15 minutes or so to finish cooking.
  18. Finally, sprinkle with parsley, plate and serve with accompanying slices of toasted bread .

Alternatively you can try the chickpea cacciucco or even all our fish first courses .

The variant of cacciucco alla viareggina

Cacciucco alla viareggina
Cacciucco alla viareggina

It is a less spicy variant with a less intense colour, but enriched with mussels and crustaceans, the Viareggio version of cacciucco is naturally inspired by the famous Livorno cacciucco.

The historical origins of the dish seem to motivate the creation of the recipe at the request of the painter Lorenzo Viani , who after tasting the delicious soup in Livorno, urged the trattorias of Viareggio to include it in their menus. In addition to this evocative legend, we can state with certainty that the Viareggio cacciucco has roots in the past, when fishermen prepared this soup using unsold fish leftovers.


The caciucco prepared following this recipe is delicious freshly made , however you can also store it for a maximum of 1 day in the refrigerator, inside a container with an airtight lid, and heat it in a pan just before serving it.

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60 typical Italian dishes (region by region): do you know them all?

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