Sicilian Seafood Soup With Couscous

We are anxiously planning our trip to Sicily for early May, so when my latest Saveur magazine came in the mail with a big bowl of Sicilian seafood stew featured on the cover, I must admit that I got a little excited. The article is all about Sicily and its cuisine, and it even has a handful of suggested places to stay and eat.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article, but I just couldn’t get that bowl of seafood wonder off my mind. I finally declared to my husband that we were making seafood soup for our Good Friday dinner, which is exactly what we did. I have never added a starch such as couscous to our seafood soups before so I was intrigued to see if we would enjoy it.

We followed the recipe pretty well as it was written in the magazine although I did add white wine, and I skipped the addition of almonds. Sicilian food has a strong Arabian influence which is reflected in the addition of the saffron, couscous and almonds to a traditional bowl of seafood soup.

The soup was amazing, the flavors were great, and we even loved the addition of couscous, which made the soup very satisfying. The trick to making a great seafood soup is not to overcook the seafood itself. Once you have a great tasting base, add the seafood and cook just until tender.

If left to sit, the couscous will soak up a lot of the broth, creating more of a stew than a traditional soup. I served our soup with slices of crusty Italian bread that I grilled and spread with roasted garlic, which was  the perfect compliment to the soup. Now I am even more excited for our Sicilian adventure to begin!


Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Sicilian Seafood Soup With Couscous

Sicilian Seafood Soup With Couscous

Yield: Serves 4 - 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This Sicilian seafood soup is made hearty with the addition of couscous.


  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Celery Stalk, Finely Chopped
  • 1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
  • 1 Carrot, Finely Chopped
  • 1 Cup White Wine
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 2 Medium Ripe Tomatoes, Cored, Seeded, & Finely Chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 Zucchini, Halved Lengthwise And Cut Into 1/4 Inch Slices
  • 4 Cups Seafood Stock
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Saffron Threads
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley Leaves
  • Red Chili Pepper, Finely Minced
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper To Taste
  • 8 Ounces Swordfish, Cut Into 1 Inch Cubes
  • 8 Ounces Small Shrimp (Peeled)
  • 1 Pound Cleaned Mussels
  • 1 Pounds Cleaned Calamari, Cut Into 1/2 Inch Rings
  • 1 Pound Small Clams

To Serve:

  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 6 Cups Cooked Couscous (Cook Following Package Directions)


  1. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat, then cook the celery, onion, and carrot until softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the wine, and cook over high heat until the wine has reduced by half, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, garlic, and zucchini, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down.
  4. Pour in the stock, saffron, parsley, chili pepper, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then add the seafood in the order it is listed, cover the pan and let cook through for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time.
  6. Spoon the couscous into individual bowls, then ladle the hot soup on top.
  7. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1234Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 378mgSodium: 2233mgCarbohydrates: 122gFiber: 7gSugar: 6gProtein: 100g

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  1. You will love Sicily. The island has every different feel and topography as the mainland. It is beautiful. If you are in the vicinity of Piazza Armerina go to Al Fogher Ristorante. It is a bit difficult to find but it is worth it.

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