This is a simple Italian-style fish stew with classic Mediterranean flavors. It’s easy to put together and everything can be prepped ahead.
1 pound firm white-fleshed fish, such as cod, red snapper or sea bass, skin removed
kosher salt and ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small lemon, thinly sliced
1 large white onion, diced
1 fennel head, trimmed, cut in half and thinly sliced
3 fresh thyme sprigs
¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon lightly crushed fennel seed
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
2 cups vegetable stock, low sodium
1 cup water
one 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon Armanino Creamy Garlic Sauce
¾ lb Armanino Tri-Color Cheese Tortellini
12-15 large fresh mussels, beards removed
½ pound large peeled & deveined shrimp
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
6 thick slices country bread or ciabatta
2 tablespoons Armanino Basil Pesto Sauce + more for serving
Cut fish into 2” chunks and place in a medium bowl.
Season generously with salt and pepper, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the lemon slices.
Toss to coat and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wide heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Add onions and fennel, season with a good pinch each of salt and pepper and cook until softened, 5-6 minutes.
Add the thyme sprigs, crushed red pepper, fennel seed, bay leaf and tomato paste; cook for 2 minutes, stirring until well combined.
Add the wine, vegetable stock, water, tomatoes and creamy garlic sauce; bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed; the broth should be well seasoned. (Can be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated.)
Stir in the frozen tortellini then gently add the marinated fish (discard the lemon slices), and mussels to the pot.
Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. The liquid should be at a gentle boil around the edges of the pot.
Add the shrimp, cover and cook for 5 more minutes until the shrimp is pink and just cooked through, the mussels have opened and fish flakes easily.
Meanwhile, lightly brush the bread slices with olive oil and toast or grill until golden, about 8-10 minutes. Spread one side lightly with pesto and set aside until needed.
Serve immediately in shallow soup bowls, with a dollop of pesto and the pesto toasts.
Clean the mussels before adding to the stew; give a quick rinse, pull any fuzzy beards from the shells and give any open shells a few taps. If they don’t close, discard.
Fish stock is traditional for this type of stew but can be difficult to find. Consider boosting the flavor of the vegetable stock by simmering the stock for ½ hour with the shrimp shells peeled from the shrimp. Strain and use the shrimp-vegetable stock in the recipe.
Toast the lightly oiled bread in the oven, on a grill or on the stove in a grill pan while the stew simmers.