Brodetto All’anconetana

Ancona Fish Soup


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

Although the diminutive name used locally to describe this dish would make you think you were getting a simple soup, it is actually a chunky and substantial stew. Traditionally, 13 different varieties of fish are used in brodetto, which is symbolic of the great port of Ancona. Among these you would always find scorpion fish, gurnard, eel, sea cricket and red mullet. Because the fish are added whole, bones and all, you need plenty of time to leisurely wade through the process of removing the fish from the bone, then enjoy the fish juices with some crusty bread. There are no other ingredients of any note, so the freshness and variety


  • 60 ml/4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 90 ml/6 tbsp white or red wine vinegar
  • 300 g/11 oz canned tomatoes, strained or coarsely chopped
  • 900 g/2 lb mixed whole fish, such as small monkfish, red mullet, whiting or scorpion fish
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • crusty bread, to serve


  1. Put the oil in a very large pan, add the onion and garlic, and fry over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until soft.
  2. Gradually add the vinegar to the pan, stirring constantly, until the sharp vinegar smell has disappeared.
  3. Add the strained tomatoes, stir and simmer for 10 minutes. Gradually add the fish, one at a time, starting with the largest.
  4. Cook, stirring gently, for 30 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Season and serve with some crusty bread.