Dinner Dish: Italy Food Tours – Ran-Away Fish Soup

The heel of Italy known as Puglia has a plethora of agricultural traditions, as the land is fertile here. But seafood dishes are aplenty too since the region has 500 miles of coastline. Chef Rita shares one of her food traditions, sugo di pesce fuggito (ran-away fish soup with spaghetti) during our culinary vacations in Puglia. It is certainly one of the most interestingly-named dishes you will prepare on our Italy food tours! The reason for the name? It is a “fish” broth – with no fish in it!

Discovering Puglia cooking vacationAccording to Rita, this is her modern take on an 18th-century created originally by the Apulian chemist Sebastiano Mona. The stew was popular until the end of the second world war. You can learn other interesting cooking methods as well as age-old recipes on our Puglia cooking vacations.

Ran-Away Fish Soup


  • 1 kg (just over 2 lbs) empty sea shells and sea pebbles
  • 3 liters boiling water
  • 2 celery leaves
  • 2 basil leaves
  • 1 onion
  • Pepper to taste
  • 700 grams (about 1 1/2 lbs) peeled tomatoes
  • 100 grams (just under 7 tablespoons) oil
  • 700 grams (about 1 1/2 lbs) spaghetti

Serves 6
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Cook method: simmer

puglia vacationInstructions:

1. Put the sea shells and sea pebbles in a pan with three liters of water at a low flame and skim the water.

2. Then add the celery leaves, basil leaves, an onion, some pepper, peeled tomatoes, and oil.  Increase the flame and continue cooking the broth.

3. Sift the water, and when the water boils, add the spaghetti.

As Rita says, “here’s your tasty fish soup … without fish!”

* * *

Our cooking vacations in Puglia usually include accommodations at a charming masseria (a countryside mansion), most meals, hands-on cooking classes, and excursions, including a unique market visits and foodie tours.

By Liz Hall

“Dinner dish” is a blog series in which The International Kitchen discusses recipes and the history of particular regional foods. Have a food you want to learn more about? Contact us today.

Other dinner dish blog posts
Spain: Paella
Italy: Meatballs

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