Zuppa di pesce was once a specialty of only the coastal towns near Rome, but it became common in the capital—where it is still known as a local favorite—through the influence of the Jews. The Jews of the Roman ghetto prepared the dish out of necessity and poverty, using fish scraps from the nearby fish market, and made it into a delicacy. This soup becomes a full meal when pasta is added to the broth or when it’s served with crunchy bread, which can be used to scoop up the last drops of the sauce.
Ask your fishmonger to fillet the fish for you, removing the skin as well, and to reserve the heads, tails, and bones for you, as you will need them to make the fish broth.
Excerpted from Cooking alla Giudia by Benedetta Jasmine Guetta (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2022.