Being surrounded as it is by water on almost all sides, Italy is a fantastic place to explore a variety of seafood dishes. Traditional seafood recipes like Italian seafood stew and seafood pasta are integral to this country’s coastal and mainland cuisines. Everyone knows what fried calamari is, but do you know these 9 traditional Italian seafood dishes?
Zuppa di Pesce
Italian seafood stew, or Zuppa di Pesce, is one of the most popular Italian seafood recipes. The base of the soup is typically made with white wine, clam broth, and tomato sauce. There are numerous variations on this dish; it’s basically a seafood free-for-all. This Food & Wine recipe for Italian seafood stew includes squid, mussels, clams, bass and shrimp.
Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia
Squid ink is a ubiquitous ingredient in Venetion dishes. Risottos and pastas with squid ink are staples of Venetian cuisine. Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia is a very dramatic-looking seafood pasta dish because of the intensity of the black ink. It may freak you out at first, but you have to try it because it is one of the most popular dishes in Northern Italy.
Linguine alle Vongole
Linguine with clams in a white wine and garlic sauce is one of the most defining Italian seafood recipes. Even better, it is also a very simple recipe! Linguine alle Vongole can also be made with tomato sauce.
Gamberi alla Busara
Another piece of Venetian cuisine is Scampi or Gamberi alla Busara. This, too, is a very simple dish that highlights the natural qualities of Italian seafood. Take some scampi or large prawns and cover them in a slightly spicy cherry tomato sauce with garlic, onion, dried chili, and other herbs and seasonings like in this Great Italian Chefs recipe.
Italian Seafood Salad
Seafood salad is one of the most common Italian seafood dishes. But while it is a traditional way to serve up seafood, it also plays a role in Italian-American history. It is called the Feast of the Seven Fishes, and it is a seven-course meal eaten on Christmas Eve. Seafood salad is one of those seven courses, and it pretty much contains all the fish in the ocean.
Seafood Fra Diavolo with Linguine
Fra Diavolo is a spicy red sauce that is extremely common in Italian seafood recipes. The ingredients of this seafood dish can vary. For example, Rachael Ray’s recipe for Seafood Fra Diavolo calls for mussels, shrimp and calamari. However, this recipe from Food Network relies on shrimp, clams and lobster tails. Both, though, are served with linguine pasta.
Creamy Lemon and Shrimp Risotto
Any seafood lover knows that lemon brings a fresh, bright, zesty flavor to shrimp and other seafood. That is why Creamy Lemon and Shrimp Risotto is so popular in Italy. It is a dish with a lot of texture and simple yet impressive flavor.
Baccalà alla Livornese
Baccalà, or salted cod, is an Italian favorite. Many times, it is served simply by itself as a dried fish. However, there are recipes such as Baccalà alla Livornese which take the salted cod and make it a larger dish with tomato sauce. Baccalà dishes vary depending on the region.
Sicilian Stuffed Sardines
Sardines are extremely common in Sicilian cuisine and stuffed sardines are a traditional Sicilian favorite. These sardines are stuffed with bread crumbs, chopped anchovies, garlic, pine nuts, and other ingredients. According to Academia Barilla, this and many other sardine-based recipes came about as a result of this fish being inexpensive and widely available to the poorer classes in this region. For more authentic Italian seafood, check out the 5 meals you must eat in Genoa.