La Vera Cucina

Andrea’s Zuppa Di Pesce

At Maria’s Italian Restaurant in Burlington, NC, co-owner Tony Pellerito satisfies his regulars with traditional Sicilian favorites. When Tony smells the aroma of fresh seafood simmering in his father Andrea’s version of this versatile soup, it rekindles memories of holidays and growing up in his family’s restaurant!


  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped fine
  • 1 celery rib, chopped fine
  • 5 garlic cloves (4 thinly sliced and 1 whole)
  • 12 fresh baby clams, cleaned and scrubbed
  • 8 large whole mussels, cleaned and scrubbed
  • 8 large calamari, cleaned with tentacles left whole, bodies cut into ½-inch rings
  • 8 ounces of medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 fresh Alaskan king crab legs, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups of homemade chicken stock
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1–2 tablespoons of Parmigiano Reggiano
  • chopped Italian parsley for garnish/serving



Heat oil in a large skillet over medium flame. Add red onion, celery, and sliced garlic cloves to skillet and sauté until translucent, about 4 to 8 minutes.

Add clams, mussels, calamari, shrimp, and crab to the pan, being sure to first brush and clean their shells well.

Add wine and chicken stock. Cover skillet and reduce heat slightly; simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. The shellfish will slowly begin to open. Discard any shellfish that fail to open.

Add marinara sauce, crushed tomatoes, and red pepper flakes; simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with Parmigiano Reggiano and parsley. Serves 4.


About Parmigiano Reggiano

Parmigiano Reggiano is prized for its characteristically nutty flavor. Like similar premium-quality “condiment” ingredients (aged balsamic vinegar, shaved truffle, dried porcini, etc.), this hard aged cheese from Parma may appear “pricey” on a bulk basis. But because it is used sparingly, its high flavor impact vs. low per-serving cost makes buying the “good stuff” a real flavor bargain.