Rich in protein and flavor, seafood is a big fish in classic Italian cuisine. From caviar and octopus to anchovies and tuna, Italian seafood delivers a rich brininess that reflects the naturally delicious flavors of the sea. It also contains essential vitamins and minerals like iodine, magnesium, vitamin B12, and more, making it a nutrient-dense choice of protein for many recipes.
When you pair it with pasta, risotto, soups or salads, it also adds instant elegance and sophistication to basic, everyday ingredients. From the Italian-style gourmands at Supermarket Italy, here are some of our favorite Italian meals that showcase different types of seafood:
Shrimp & Caviar Appetizer
If you want to impress your dinner guests, a dish with Italian caviar, the diamonds of the sea, are an obvious choice. Make it a real showstopper with this exclusive shrimp recipe by Ezio Santin, head chef at Osteria Del Ponte, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Cassinetta di Lugagnano, Italy. For this luxurious and decadent seafood dish, shrimp are marinated in a citronette dressing made with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and freshly ground white pepper. Then, the flavors get enhanced with chopped scallions in a tangy marinade. The shrimp are arranged on a plate and lightly dressed with the citronette dressing and a pinch of flaked Maldon salt. As the final garnish, a dollop of caviar is placed above each shrimp and served right away. Decadent and protein-rich, this Italian seafood dish comes from the Emilia-Romagna region, which borders the Adriatic Sea.
Risotto with Cuttlefish Ink & Calamari
Loved by chefs for its delicate flavor and dramatic inky black color, cuttlefish ink is a popular ingredient in Italian specialties like risotto and calamari, which makes a luxurious and decadent trio. This gourmet dish is simple to make; right before serving, mix cuttlefish ink into cooked risotto along with freshly grated Parmigiano Regianno and calamari sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil and traditional seasonings.
Broccoli Aglio e Olio
A classic Italian pasta dish, Broccoli Aglio e Olio with Gremolata breadcrumbs can be easily thrown together with everyday pantry items like canned anchovy fillets and spaghetti. Traditional long strand pasta gets a coating of bright citrus and a satisfying crunch from bread crumbs seasoned with lemon zest, olive oil, minced garlic, and chopped parsley. For a hearty addition, broccoli florets are sautéed with anchovies, garlic, salt, and Aleppo pepper.
The essential ingredient in traditional Caesar dressing, canned anchovies are an essential item in every kitchen pantry. The ingredients for this light and creamy dressing are a pungent combination of lemon juice, egg yolk, vinegar, and anchovies seasoned with garlic, cayenne, and salt. After the mixture is whisked and beaten into a creamy yellow sauce, the romaine lettuce is tossed and coated in the dressing, then topped with homemade breadcrumbs and Parmigiano Reggiano shavings.
Bottarga Spaghetti with Lemon Zest and Bread Crumbs
A favorite way to showcase premium cured mullet roe, Bottarga is added to starchy spaghetti for bright pops of flavor, which are balanced with lemon zest and other seasonings. For a crunchy texture, Panko breadcrumbs are seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and parsley for a hint of fresh herbs.
Sicilian-style Pasta & Sardines
Bring canned sardines to life with this Italian grandmother-tested and approved combination of traditional seasonings and veggies. Onion, fennel, and saffron are heated to release all their aromatics and flavors, which lend a punch of seasonings to savory sardines. Then, slightly underdone ‘al dente’ pasta like spaghetti is married to the chunky sardine-infused sauce with the help of leftover pasta water. The key to cooking this dish in the authentic style is the emulsifying action of salted pasta water combined with the effects of heat and ‘carry-over’ cooking.
Italian Tuna Sandwich
A healthy protein with a tender, flaky texture, Italian canned tuna is a must-have for the pantry. Ready to use straight from the tin, you can add it to other classic toppings for a traditional Italian tuna sandwich. In a recipe from Food and Wine magazine, tuna gets a kick of flavor from a black olive dressing, which is made from a mixture of parsley, black olives, extra virgin olive oil, anchovies, garlic, lemon juice, and thyme. Salt and pepper are added and then tossed with drained tuna. On a sliced baguette, blanched snow peas or other hearty greens are arranged under a layer of dressed tuna. It all comes together with slices of red onion, tomatoes, and sliced eggs; The bread slices are pressed firmly together to secure all the ingredients in place.
Octopus & Potato Salad
For a light and refreshing appetizer, the octopus and potato salad from Fine Dining Lovers features a mix of hearty artichokes and potatoes. Capers add bright pops of flavor, which help temper the briny octopus; Parsley and scallions deliver fresh aromatics with every bite. All the ingredients get a lift from a vinaigrette dressing made with tangy and floral lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and Italian seasonings.
Pair these classic seafood dishes with a crisp white wine like Vermentino di Sardegna and buono appetito!
At Supermarket Italy, you’ll find everything you need for these recipes and so much more.