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7 Italian Seafood Recipes to Transport You to Italy

Seafood occupies a place of prime importance in Italian cuisine. It is only natural as Italy is mostly surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. To be specific, it is surrounded by parts of the Mediterranean Sea such as the Adriatic Sea in the northeast, the Ligurian Sea in the northwest, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Tyrrhenian Sea in the Southwest. The Strait of Sicily and the Sea of Sardinia also surround Italian territory. Is it a wonder that Italian cuisine features seafood so strongly?


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The Italian term for seafood is ‘Frutti di mari’ meaning fruit of the sea. Even the term used to describe seafood beautifully demonstrates the Italian love for seafood. Italian dishes allow the seafood to shine through. You will find seafood typically in antipasto or entrees in Italian cuisine.

Presenting 7 recipes that will give you a taste of Italy’s coastal cuisine and transport you to the beautiful Mediterranean shores:

Risotto ai Frutti di Mare

Starting off with a taste of Northern Italy. Risotto is important to Italian culture, and even though this dish has traveled to kitchens around the world, it has mostly remained unchanged. This dish stars a mix of fresh shrimp, live lobster meat, clams, and mussels.


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(Serves 6-8)


Frutti di Mare/ Seafood:
12-15 mussels (Soaked in cold, salty water for an hour, cleaned, and with the beard/byssal threads removed)
12 small clams
100 grams shrimp (Deveined and cleaned)
150 to 200 grams of lobster meat
½ tsp Lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste
6 tbsp butter
120 ml olive oil
2 small to medium onions (chopped finely)
2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
150 ml white wine*
4 ½  cups of shellfish stock or vegetable stock (Heated)
¾ cup seeded and crushed plum tomatoes
1 tsp minced garlic
½ cup parsley (finely chopped)
75 grams of parmesan cheese (freshly grated)


Cook diced lobster meat in a pan with a tablespoon of butter over medium heat until it is just opaque. Do not overcook. Season with lemon zest, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Add olive oil to a big saucepan, and heat it over a medium flame. To this, add 2 tbsp of butter, and the finely chopped onions. Saute until the onions turn soft and translucent, then add the minced garlic and the rice. Toast the rice while stirring.

Next, add the wine and cook until it almost evaporates. Add most of the stock until it covers the rice by about ½ inch. When the liquid is mostly absorbed, cook for around 8 minutes. Stir it from time to time. Add the chopped tomatoes and the seafood. Cook for around 7 more minutes, until the rice is al-dente and the seafood is cooked. Add more stock to the rice with the ladle if required. Remove it from the heat, and add the remaining butter, chopped parsley, and the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve hot.

Make sure not to over-stir or overcook your risotto.

* If you prefer to cook without alcohol, you can substitute the white wine with an equal quantity of non-alcoholic wine. In case you find yourself out of white wine or if you do not like the bitter flavor it can impart, you can substitute it with a mix of apple cider vinegar and water (equal parts of both). You can even skip the ingredient completely.

Lemon-Stuffed Grilled Branzino

Branzino, a European sea bass, is a versatile staple of Mediterranean cuisine. The outcome of this recipe is absolutely delicious with crisp skin and moist flesh.

(Serves 4)


2 whole branzino, about 1 ½ pounds each (scales removed, gutted, and cleaned)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
2 lemons
A few sprigs of fresh herbs (such as thyme, parsley, basil, and cilantro)
2 bay leaves
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Chopped parsley for garnish


Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Light the grill and allow it to preheat.

Use salt and pepper to season the insides of the fish. Then insert a few sprigs of fresh herbs, a bay leaf, and slices of one lemon into each fish.

Brush the external parts of the fish with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place the stuffed branzino fish on the hot grill, and give it 5-7 minutes on each side. Garnish with chopped parsley, and serve hot with lemon wedges on the side.

Calamari Fritti (Fried Calamari/Squid Rings)

This dish of golden perfection utilizes fresh squid. It’s soft inside and crunchy outside. Serve it with lemon wedges and homemade dips.


500 grams of cleaned squid (cut mantles into rings, fins into strips, and tentacles in half lengthwise)
Oil for frying

For the coating:
30 grams all-purpose flour
125 grams of semolina flour
½ tsp dried herbs
¼ tsp paprika
Salt and pepper (to taste)


Mix the ingredients for the coating in a bowl. Heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Check it with a thermometer. If the oil is not hot enough, the rings will turn greasy, and if it’s too hot, the coating will burn before the calamari is done.

As soon as the oil reaches the right temperature, start adding the calamari to the coating mixture.

Enjoy it while it is crispy and hot.

Grilled Fish with Salmoriglio Sauce

The name of this sauce comes from the word salamoia, which means brine. The classic, tangy, and buttery Sicilian sauce pairs well with many different types of fish. For best results, select the most fresh fish at the market for grilling. This recipe ensures that the flavor of the fish is not overpowered by the sauce. Rather, the sauce allows the flavors of the sea to shine through.


One pound of fish filets (or whole cleaned fish), with or without skin
Salt (to taste)

For the sauce:
3-4 tbsp of olive oil
Juice of a lemon
A tsp of dried oregano (and chopped fresh oregano if possible)
1 tsp minced garlic
A few sprigs of parsley (chopped)
Salt to taste


Mix the ingredients of the sauce in a jar with a lid. Cover and shake well to ensure that the ingredients are well combined.

Season the fish with salt and ground pepper. Grill over hot coals until opaque and firm. Drizzle with the sauce and serve hot.

Scialatielli all’Amalfitana

Take a trip to Amalfi and the coastal region of Campania with this dish. It features scialatielli, a comparatively recent innovation in pasta shapes, along with prawns, clams, and mussels, often found in the luxurious hotels of Italy. (Note: Chef Enrico Cosentino came up with the new pasta shape in 1978. The name of the pasta shape is probably derived from a word that means ‘ to ruffle’. Most likely, it’s because, when presented in a dish, the handmade pasta has a ruffled appearance.) Although you can find a dried commercial version of scialatielli pasta (sans the milk, cheese, and basil), for the best and most authentic flavors, make fresh pasta.

(Serves 3)


For the pasta dough:
250 gms flour
100 gms milk
15 gms Pecorino Romano Cheese (Grated)
2-3 basil leaves
1 small egg
1 tsp salt (or more to taste)

For the sauce:
½ tsp minced garlic
200 gms cherry tomatoes
2 chillies (finely chopped)
150 gms mussels
150 gms clams
8 large prawns
125 ml fish stock
Chopped parsley for garnish
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling over pasta


Mix the ingredients for the pasta dough (including the cheese) in a bowl and knead it until smooth (around 3-5 minutes). Rest it at room temperature for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Then, roll it out on a floured surface (5 mm thick). Cut into 10 cm long and 10 mm wide strips.

Start preparing the sauce before boiling the pasta.

Saute the chopped garlic, cherry tomatoes, and chilies in a saucepan over medium heat. Let the tomatoes soften. Then add the fish stock, and let it come to a boil. Add the seafood,  lower the heat, and let it simmer for 4-5 minutes. You need the sauce and pasta to get ready simultaneously, so you have to boil the pasta at this point.

Boil water with some salt and add the pasta to it. Give it 3-4 minutes on high heat. Then, drain and add the pasta to the steaming hot sauce. Drizzle some olive oil and mix gently. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve hot!


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Polpette di gamberi (Shrimp Meatballs)

This is another easy-to-prepare appetizer from Italy. It combines the flavors of shrimp, breadcrumbs, seasonings, and herbs. Polpette translates to ‘meatballs’, but these are different from traditional meatballs.

(Serves 2-3)

300 gms shrimps (Shelled, deveined and washed)
2 bread slices (crumbled/ground)
½ tsp garlic paste
A few sprigs of parsley (chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
4-5 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 (beaten) egg
3 tbsp breadcrumbs
Oil for frying


Combine the shrimp, bread slices, garlic paste, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Let this mixture rest for some time in the fridge. Then, make small balls out of the mixture. Roll these balls in the flour, dip them into the beaten egg, and coat them with breadcrumbs. Heat the oil in a wok, and deep fry the shrimp meatballs until golden brown. Serve with a dip and lemon wedges.

Smoked Salmon Fettuccine Alfredo

Imagine the taste of hot smoked salmon and fettuccine tossed with creamy sauce! Pure delight! That’s exactly what this dish will provide.

(Serves 3)

300 gms dry fettuccine
4 tbsp butter
80 gms finely grated fresh parmesan cheese
½ cup heavy cream
125 gms smoked salmon filet (flaked)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 shallot (chopped)
Juice of a small lemon (Optional)
A few sprigs of fresh parsley chopped) for garnish


Boil a large pot of salted water and add the fettuccine to it. Let it cook until al dente. Reserve about a cup of pasta water, and drain the rest.

Add the butter to a deep pan, and let it melt over medium heat. To this, add the shallot and saute until tender. Next, add the cream, and once it’s close to boiling, lower the heat. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add the grated cheese. Mix the sauce until smooth.

To the sauce, add ¾ cup of the pasta water and the salmon. Return the pan to heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the pasta and toss to coat. Let the sauce emulsify for 2 minutes. Garnish with grated parmesan and chopped parsley. Serve hot!

Wrapping It Up

These dishes are bound to satisfy your culinary curiosity as well as your taste buds. Each bite will be like a voyage to the sea-kissed shores of Italy. Try these dishes to enjoy the rich bounties of the sea.

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