Fish Ragu is a very tasty pasta sauce, a typical Mediterranean –Italian fish recipe. There are many variations of fish ragu, depending on regional uses and fish available.
Fish Ragu, unlike the meat ragu Bolognese, does not require many hours of cooking. In fact it takes just over an hour, the time needed to cook the fish and mix the flavors.
Fish Ragu is considered a more summery dish, perhaps because it recalls dinners on hot summer evenings by the sea. Meat ragu on the other hand is considered a more winter dish, rich in calories it is certainly more suitable for the cold season. In reality, in Italy both types of pasta sauce are usually eaten all year round and they are, together with Tomato Sauce, the favorite pasta sauces for adults and children.
Different Types of Fish for a Delicious Recipe
For fish ragu recipe you need a mix of fishes such as: molluscs (e.g. cuttlefish, squid, octopus), crustaceans (e.g. shrimp and scampi) and fish fillets (e.g. sea bass, sea bream, cod or monkfish) carefully deprived of the bones.
The white fish fillet is essential for a good result of the ragù. Because, unlike molluscs and crustaceans, it melts during cooking, making the sauce tastier and creamier.
For a successful fish sauce, cooking times are very important. Each type of fish has a different cooking time and you have to add it to the fish ragu based on that. For example, molluscs have long cooking times. While crustaceans and fish fillets cook very quickly and you have to add them to the sauce at the end.
Fish ragu is really delicious and quite simple to make. The only hassle is cleaning the fish. But you can buy it already clean and ready to cook! Sure it’s essential for the fish to be extremely fresh and of excellent quality.
Now follow this step by step recipe to make a delicious fish ragu!
Fish Ragu Recipe
NOTE: weight refers to the whole fish still to be cleaned.
- 150 g (5 oz) of Squid
- 150 g (5 oz) of Cuttlefish
- 1 whole sea bass of about 400 g (14 oz) or about 150 g (5 oz) of sea bass fillet
- 200 g (7 oz) of Scampi
- 150 g (5 oz) of Shrimps
- 350 g (12,3 oz) of tomato passata
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 small onion
- a bunch of chopped fresh parsley
- 60 ml of dry white wine
- 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
For the fish stock
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 liter of water
- half tablespoon of coarse salt
- 1 medium shallot
- all fish waste (except the entrails) and the claws of crustaceans
- 1 medium carrot
How to Clean Fish to Make Fish Ragu Pasta
First you need to clean the fish. If your fish is already clean, go to step 4.
Step 1) – Clean carefully squid and cuttlefish. Remove the entrails, the central cartilage and skin, then rinse under running water. Set aside.
Step 2) – Clean the sea bass, removing the entrails and the head and cut out the fillets. Remove carefully any bones and skin. Set aside.
Step 3) – Clean the crustaceans by removing the heads, the carapaces and the claws to get the white pulp. Set aside.
How To Make Fish Stock
Now that you have prepared and cleaned the fish, you need to make the fish broth. Let’s see how to do it together. If you have a ready-made fish broth, go to step 5.
Step 4) – So now you take all the fish waste, except the entrails, and place them in a saucepan with the carrot, the celery, half onion and the coarse salt. Add the water and cook over medium heat for at least 45 minutes. In the meantime, continue preparing the fish ragu.
Step 5) – Cut the molluscs and crustaceans into small pieces. Keep them separate, as they have different cooking times and should not be added to the sauce together.
Step 6) – Chop the garlic, onion and parsley. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the minced vegetables for two minutes.
Step 7) – Add squid and cuttlefish cut into small pieces. Cook for a few minutes and add the white wine. Continue cooking over low heat for about 20 minutes.
Step 8) – Add the tomato passata and keep cooking for about 20 minutes. When necessary, add a ladle of fish broth. The sauce must be thick but not too dry.
Step 9) – Add the shrimp, prawns and sea bass fillet cut into small pieces. If you like, you can leave some whole shrimps to decorate the dishes. Finish cooking with another 10 minutes, mixing well. In this way the sea bass will melt and mix well, making the fish pasta sauce more creamy. At the end of cooking, add a little fresh parsley to taste. Fish ragu recipe is ready!
How to store Fish Ragù
You can make fish ragu ahead of time and heat it when needed. You can keep it in an airtight food container for a maximum of 2-3 days in the refrigeretor. If you prefer, you can even freeze it and keep it in the freezer for 2 months.
Fish Ragu: How to Taste and Serve it
The perfect match with fish ragu is fresh pasta in both long (for example “tagliolini,” “scialatielli” or “fettuccine”) and short (for example “strozzapreti” or “maltagliati”) formats. In fact, fresh pasta absorbs the sauce better than dry pasta: it’s tastier and more cut out for this type of sauce.
Perfect combination with fish ragu are soft and delicate Potato Gnocchi. Or is also the right sauce for making a delicious baked seafood lasagna.
In Italy, in the Marche region, they sometime season Passatelli with fish ragu, made with sole, sea cicadas and clams: the typical fish of the Adriatic Sea.
Often, especially in Veneto and in the coastal areas of central Italy, they serve fish ragu with Polenta, as a delicious single main course.
Here is a tip for a more savory fish ragu pasta: cook the pasta in the fish stock, the one you made for the fish ragù; if necessary dilute it with some water.