This hearty Italian fish stew is simple to make and such a delight on cold winter evenings.
This is probably one of our favourite short cut suppers. The ingredients are so simple - a jar of passata, a jar of puttanesca, ready made gnocchi and a bag of fish pie mix. But when they're gently simmered together in this stew the result is so fantastic, it takes like scratch cooking. Fish stews are popular all over Italy, wherever there is a coastline. They vary by region but often include potatoes to cheaply bulk up the dish. Gnocchi has much the same role here. The little potato dumplings soak up the flavour of the fish and make the stew feel like a whole meal in a bowl.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
- 560g jar of passata
- 1 fish or vegetable stock cube
- 500g pack ready-made gnocchi
- 320g pack fish-pie mix (salmon, cod and haddock), or equivalent
- 180g jar of puttanesca mix (Mix of chopped black olives, anchovies, capers, oil and vinegar)
- Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook over a medium heat for 4 mins to soften it.
- Pour in the passata, then fill the jar with hot water, shake it to get all the juice and add to the pan. Add the stock cube. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of mins.
- Stir in the gnocchi. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 mins.
- Add the fish and simmer for 2-3 mins more.
- Spoon the stew into 4 bowls and top with some of the puttenesca mix, about 1 tbsp per person.
Top tips for making Italian fish stew
You can turn this stew into a soup if you prefer. Instead of cutting the onions into wedges, chop them roughly. When you add the stock cube, add 3 jars of hot water from the passata jar instead of one. Either use gnocchi as with the stew, or swap it for tiny pasta stars (stelline). Add more stock after the stelline has cooked, if the soup is still too thick.
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Octavia Lillywhite is an award-winning food and lifestyle journalist with over 15 years of experience. With a passion for creating beautiful, tasty family meals that don’t use hundreds of ingredients or anything you have to source from obscure websites, she’s a champion of local and seasonal foods, using up leftovers and composting, which, she maintains, is probably the most important thing we all can do to protect the environment.
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