Per una cena tra amiche – Brodetto alla Fanese


When two friends reunite around a huge pot of brodetto, it’s always a memorable evening…especially when both of them are craving fish and seafood.

I grew up eating brodetto, my mom’s favorite. The city of Fano in Italy and that particular region, being on the Adriatic Coast  is well known for their seafood dishes and brodetto is one of them. Brodo means broth so, brodetto being a diminutive, means small broth, the fish is not drowned in liquid nor in heavy tomato sauce, like some stews you can eat at some restaurants, there is enough broth to dip bread but it’s not soaking in it.

Brodetto is very famous in Marche region of Italy Usually for a traditional brodetto, you need at least 12 different kinds of fish and shell fish but mainly the kind you can only find in the Adriatic sea such as “triglie, “teste grosse”, “rospo”, “trofano”, etc… which I don’t know the equivalent in English. There was somehow a limitation of fish available so I somehow used fishes I could find but the brodetto ended up being quite delicious. You need extra fresh and top quality fish, that will make a big difference. The quality and ripeness of the tomatoes are also very important, so if you don’t have top ripe tomatoes, you can use imported can tomatoes such as San Marzano, but if they’re whole, you’ll need to crush them ino a purée.

I used balsamic vinegar, that’s why my broth is a little darker, nonetheless delicious, balsamic vinegar being a little sweet gave the broth a very distinct flavor. A clay pot is perfect to cook this type of dish, it allows all the flavors to infuse beautifully together.

For Italian speakers, you can read this website “L’Academia del brodetto” where they somehow explain the differences between brodetti made in different regions and listing the best restaurants serving brodetto, so in case you find yourself in Italy on the Adriatic Coast, you can go and try the best restaurants serving brodetto…of course if you are crazy about sea food like I am.

Ingredients for 4-6

  • 1 large cod fillet
  • 1 large sole fillet
  • 1 lb mussels
  • about 20 large shrimps
  • 1/2 lb squid
  • 12-16 crayfish (preferably whole)
  • 12 large sea scallops
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 glass white vinegar (I used balsamic vinegar)
  • 5 well ripe tomatoes, seedless, peeled and crushed in a purée
  • 3 tbs parsley finely chopped
  • salt and pepper


In a clay pot preferably, heat olive oil, then add onion slices and let them cook slowly until they become soft and almost caramelized, add garlic and stir, cook for 5 minutes without burning the garlic. Add vinegar and let it reduce. Add parsley. Mix well – Add tomatoes and let the mixture reduce and thicken.

When the sauce has reduced, add squid cook for 5 minutes, then add fish, let it cook for 5 extra minutes, and add shell fish at the end. Adjust with salt and pepper. The mussels are cooked last, after adding mussels, cover with lid and remove from heat when the mussels have opened. Mix broth carefully. The fish needs to be cooked but not overcooked. The vinegar will prevent the fish from breaking apart.

Serve in deep dishes with slices of country bread.