The Province of Anacona’s cuisine is defined by fish and seafood along the coast, with vegetables, chicken, rabbit, snails and truffles and other wild fungi in the hills and mountains. The coastal brodetto or seafood stew, is seasoned with saffron and traditionally made with thirteen kinds of fish. Pasta in the Marche region is rich with eggs, such as lasagna, pappardelle and tagliatelle.
This seafood stew uses a wide variety of fish and shellfish. A typical stew incorporatescuttlefish, mussels, clams, shrimp, freshwater lobster, codfish, mullet, sole, tub gurnard, flounder, scorpionfish and calamari. Diversity is key and even if you do not use thirteen types, a variety from your local fish market will produce this fantastic dish!
3-3 ½ lbs of fish and seafood variety
5 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped 2 bay leaves
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
red pepper flakes to taste
pinch of saffron
1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
½ cup white vinegar
salt and ground black pepper to taste
3 cups fish stock
6 (3/4 inch thick) slices Italian bread, toasted
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, Dutch oven, or preferably a clay pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, bay leaves, parsley and red pepper flakes and a pinch of saffron. Cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the mashed tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat. Add the cuttlefish and calamari and pour in the vinegar. Cook for 5-7 minutes and then add fish (but not the shellfish). Cook until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 10 minutes; pour in the fish stock. Cover, reduce the heat to low, simmer for 10 minutes. Gently mix in the clams and mussels. Cook until clams have opened (discard any that don’t open) about 2 minutes and then stir in the shrimp and freshwater lobster. Cook until the shrimp are pink, about 3 minutes. Place a slice of toasted bread in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the brodetto over the bread and serve immediately.
Tagliatelle con Gamberi
Ancona is one of the most important ports on the Adriatic Sea. This dish combines two of the most popular ingredients of the province’s capital – shrimp and tagliatelle.
3/4 lb. fresh tagliatelle
½ onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup marinara sauce
½ cup dry white wine
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 lb medium shrimp, deveined
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Soften the onion over low flame in the olive oil and then add the finely chopped garlic, cooking lightly, without letting it brown. Pour in the white wine and allow to evaporate. Blend in the marinara sauce. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 3 minutes.
Cook the tagliatelle al dente. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta and add to the shrimp mixture. Stir in the reserved pasta water and combine. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Pollo Brasato al Vino e al Pomodoro
This delicious combination of white wine and braised chicken with tomatoes is healthy, nutritious and bursting with flavor.
2 tbsp olive oil
One 3 ½ lb. chicken, cut into 4 pieces
2 cups diced white onion
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp chopped fresh marjoram
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 cup dry white wine
6 cups peeled, seeded, diced plum tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a heavy ovenproof pan with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until hot. Pat the chicken dry and add two pieces to the pan. Do not crowd the chicken. Cook until the chicken has browned on all sides, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Repeat with another tablespoon of olive oil and the remainder of the chicken.
Add the onions to the same pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, marjoram and sage and stir. Add the wine and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the chicken is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. When tender, transfer the chicken to a warm platter, cover with foil and set aside. Skim off the excess fat from the braising liquid and reduce the sauce over a high flame to a smooth consistency. Serve the sauce over the chicken and garnish with the parsley.
Torta all’arancia, Stile Ancona
Sambuca is added to bring a subtle touch of anise to this traditional dessert of Ancona.
2 cups and 2 tablespoons flour, plus flour for dusting the pan
3 oranges and the their grated peels
4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp Sambuca
1 tbsp. whole milk
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
2 cups orange juice mixed with 3 tbsp sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a Bundt pan with cooking spray and dust with flour. Grate the orange peel, first removing the pith, the bitter white spongy layer between the fruit and the peel. Place the flour, eggs, grated orange peel, butter, sugar and Sambuca in a food processor and blend until all ingredients are incorporated. Add milk and baking powder and process again to incorporate.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and place on the upper rack upper (placed in the center) of the preheated oven. Bake for at least 45 minutes and the top of cake is golden. Cool slightly and then loosen the edges of the cake with a sharp knife. Invert onto a plate. While cake is still warm, poke holes into it, using the end of a wooden spoon or similar implement. Pour the sweetened orange juice into the holes, filling them to the brim. Within an hour, the cake will have absorbed the juice. Serve at room temperature.