Visit Rimini

free tourist information and news

Brodetto di Pesce (Adriatic Fish Broth)

Brodetto di Pesce is one of those classic Romagnolo dishes that was born of necessity, and has been raised into a fine art and a pillar of the region’s culinary tradition.


Fishermen would take the fish that they couldn’t sell, be it because of their size or because they were considered poor quality – fish like the Mazzola (Tub Gunnard or Chelidonichthys lucerna) – and cook them all together in a broth served with toasted bread. Nowadays you can find this dish everywhere from simple Osterie through to expensive restaurants.

Brodetto di Pesce, in this style, is a dish that you’ll find all along the Adriatic coast,but in particular from the Veneto in the North through to the Abruzzo coast. It’s often called by its name in dialect (for example u’ bredette in termolese, broeto in Venetian dialect, or el brudèt in fanese). In Romagnolo it is called Brudèt ad pès.

There’s a strong rivalry between the Romagna and neighbouring Marche region in terms of the Brodetto di Pesce and its traditions. In the Romagna tradition dictates that, whatever else you put in it, you must include the Mazzola, while in the Marche the Mazzola is replaced by the San Pietro (John Dory – Zeus Faber).

Trivia in harsher times, in the absence of any substantial fish, the fishermen would add rocks to the broth, because of the small molluscs and algae clinging to them!

A Brodetto di Pesce Recipe

Start off by cleaning all the fish 🙁 (or get your fishmonger to do the dirty work!). In a large casserole dish, heat a generous amount of olive oil, and add chopped onion, garlic, and chopped parsley. You’ll fry these gently so they release their flavour into the oil.

Add your larger fish, cut into chunks,and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the red wine, salt and pepper to taste, more fresh parsley and some water to cover. Cook for about 15 minutes with a lid and a low-medium heat – adding water as necessary, and taking care not to break the fish up by stirring. The brodetto should be more like a sauce than a soup per se.

If using mussels and clams or smaller shellfish, you’ll add them later than the bigger fish, as they require less cooking time (Mussels take typically between five – 10 minutes to cook).

When your Brodetto is almost cooked, toast some fresh but rough bread to eat with the fish and sauce. It should be ideal for scooping up your sauce, which, with the flavours of the various fish, should be a masterpiece in itself!.

Ingredients (for 4)

  • 2kg of Adriatic fish. You can use what you like from the following, but make sure to include the Mazzola! Mazzola, Canocchie (Squilla Mantis Shrimp), Coda di Rospo (Angler Fish), Mazzancolle (Triple-Grooved Shrimp), Octopus, Mussels, and Clams
  • 1/2 an onion
  • a clove of garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Fresh Parsley
  • 1 glass of Red Wine (plus whatever the cook needs!)

Leave a Reply