User N. | Dec 23, 2020 | 0 Comments
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Zuppa di Pesce from Chef Daniela Savone

Just in time for the holidays and your holiday table, Chef Daniela Savone shares her family recipe enjoyed every Christmas Eve. We hope you find it as delicious as we did!

While most kids can't wait to open presents on Christmas, having grown up in an Italian household I was actually more excited to dig into a big bowl of my nonna's 'Zuppa di Pesce' on Christmas Eve. I still to this day look forward to one of the most iconic Italian American traditions, 'Feast of the Seven Fishes.' A large meatless meal, deeply rooted in the Roman Catholic Church, where families gather to feast on a bounty of seafood to reflect "la vigilia," the birth of baby Jesus. Italian American families began preparing the feast back in the early 1900's as a way to feel close to home. Many southern Italians flocked to America and brought their tradition with them making it a popular Italian American celebration today.

Traditionally the feast involves seven different kinds of fish prepared seven different ways, which is said to represent the seven sacraments. The seven different fish can take many forms, but my nonna always ensured to include all seven in her 'Zuppa di Pesce.' The whole traditional feast in one big pot! It boasts about a pound of each fish served with a bed of linguini pasta. There is a complex simplicity in the pungency of white wine, the freshness of the herbs layered with the delicate flavor of the fresh fish. It is the best of both worlds, a delicious meal and one that honors tradition. But the secret to making a good Zuppa is making a great sauce base made with Tuttorosso Tomatoes and then timing the cooking of the seafood, as to not overcook it. Christmas Eve gatherings have continued to evolve over time since my nonna passed away, but this is one tradition we make sure to keep alive. My sisters and I spend all day in the kitchen alongside my mom cleaning pounds and pounds of fresh seafood, reminiscing, laughing and telling stories.

My nonna's Seven Fish Zuppa di Pesce is a 'stew' of clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari, cod, scallops, and anchovies, served in a broth of white wine, garlic, saffron, and tomato sauce with a touch of spice. It can be served alongside a thick piece of crusty Italian bread or with a big bowl of pasta. Just be sure to wear an extra large napkin tucked in around your neckline so you don't stain your shirt. Nothing says Christmas to me more than the sight and sound of my family gathered around the table with their faces in their big bowls of Zuppa slurping up all that flavorful goodness. You can eliminate or add your seafood of choice but be sure to always use what's fresh and readily available. And remember the most important ingredient of all; love, family, and tradition.

Recipe Serves: 6 Prep Time: 30 Minutes Cook Time: 30 Minutes


2 (28 ounce) cans of Tuttorosso Peeled Plum Tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 (6 ounce) can of Tuttorosso Tomato Paste
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs. Linguini
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
4 Basil leaves, julienned
2 shallots, julienned
1/2 cup fresh fennel, julienned
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon loosely packed saffron threads
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
1 1/2 cups white cooking wine
1 cup clam juice
1 lemon
12 3x3 cod fillets
2 lbs. jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 lb. jumbo bay scallops
12 whole calamari & tentacles, cut into rings
2 dozen Littleneck clams, rinsed
1.5 lbs. mussels, rinsed & debearded sea salt & fresh ground black pepper


1. Bring an extra large pot of salted water to a boil

2. In an extra large pot, coat the bottom with olive oil, on medium heat saute onion, shallots & fennel until translucent, approximately 3 minutes. Add garlic and allow to sweat.

3. Begin building the flavors for the sauce; add anchovy fillets, parsley, basil, saffron, thyme, & crushed red pepper. stir together & let flavors meld together

4. Add white wine, stir & simmer for 2-3 minutes, allowing the wine to evaporate then add the clam juice, stir & simmer for another 2-3 minutes

5. Add the crushed plum tomatoes & the tomato paste (rinse any excess sauce from the cans with water & add to pot), and bay leaves. Season with salt & pepper to taste, stir & reduce heat. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

6. Once water comes to boil, add a drop of olive oil & pasta. Stir & cook for about 10 minutes, until al dente. During the last 10 minutes add the seafood to the sauce. Be sure to pat dry all cleaned & rinsed seafood. Sprinkle shrimp, scallops & cod with salt, pepper, & fresh lemon juice. Add to pot and stir gently. Add calamari, mussels, & clams, gently stir. Seafood is done cooking once shellfish open & shrimp turn pink.

7. Strain pasta & in a large pasta bowl toss linguine in with sauce. Serve in individual bowls, adding a good helping of seafood & sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle with fresh parsley & crushed red pepper. Garnish with fresh fennel sprigs

Buon Natale!

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