Spaghetti all'acqua pazza (with fish and cherry tomatoes)



Fish, pasta, and cherry tomatoes - with these three ingredients you can create a very flavorful dish: spaghetti all'acqua pazza (literally spaghetti "crazy water" style), a dish from the gastronomic tradition of Campania that originated as a humble meal prepared by fishermen on fishing boats using small fish, the ones that couldn't be sold at the market.
Thus, they invented this simple recipe which is now made with more valuable fish like sea bream, but there's also sea bass all'acqua pazza.
Spaghetti all'acqua pazza is a simple yet very beloved first course, and it is said to have been one of the great Totò's favorite dishes.
Bring the flavors of the Gulf of Naples to your table with this fresh and fragrant recipe!

Try also the recipe for pasta with poor fish, a surprisingly good first course!


Spaghetti 0.9 lb (400 g)
Sea bream 1.8 lbs (800 g)
Pomodori di Pachino (cherry tomatoes) 2.2 lbs (500 g)
Onions ½
Garlic 1 clove
Dry white wine 1.7 oz (50 ml)
Parsley to taste - to chop
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Fine salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
for the broth
Dry white wine ⅓ cup (100 ml)
Onions ½
Leeks ½
Garlic 1 clove
Water to taste
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Parsley to taste - to chop
Ground black pepper to taste
Fine salt to taste

How to prepare Spaghetti all'acqua pazza (with fish and cherry tomatoes)

To make spaghetti all'acqua pazza, start by cleaning the fish. For all the details on this process, consult our guide How to Clean Sea Bream. Remember to save the fish scraps because you will need them to prepare the fish broth (you will need about 1 lb). Rinse the fish under fresh water to remove any blood residues. Remove the head and cut the fillets 1 with a very flexible knife. Remove the bones using kitchen tweezers 2; to locate the bones, just feel the fillet with the back of your hands. Cut the fillets into cubes and set them aside 3.

With the sea bream scraps 4, all except the intestines, prepare the fish broth (for more details, consult the guide Fish Broth): slice the onion and the leek 5 and put them in a high-sided pot where you have heated a drizzle of oil 6, add the garlic and let it brown for a few minutes,

then add the fish scraps and let them brown as well, pour in the wine 7 and let it evaporate, cover with water, then season with pepper and parsley 8, salt and let it cook for 30 minutes with the lid on. When cooking is finished, strain the broth through a sieve 9 (for a more intense flavor, you can blend the fish before straining).

Set aside the broth 10 which will be used for the sauce preparation. Take care of the spaghetti: bring a pot with plenty of salted water to a boil, add the spaghetti 11 and cook them al dente. Wash the cherry tomatoes under running water and cut them in half 12.

Then set a pan on the stove, heat a drizzle of olive oil and brown the chopped onion 13 and the garlic (you can use just garlic if you prefer), then add the cherry tomatoes 14 which should cook over medium heat for just a couple of minutes as they should not become mushy. Then add the fish pieces 15, deglaze with white wine, let it evaporate, and then add a ladle of hot broth.

Salt, pepper, and season with chopped parsley 16. When the pasta is al dente, drain it 17 and pour it into the pan with the sauce. Turn the heat to high and mix to flavor the pasta and thicken the sauce. Once cooked, turn off the heat 18 and serve the spaghetti all'acqua pazza hot!

How to store

It is recommended to consume the spaghetti all'acqua pazza immediately. If there are leftovers, store them in the refrigerator for no more than one day in an airtight container. You can freeze only the sauce if you have used fresh, not previously frozen, ingredients.


Sea bass, redfish, cod - the choice of fish is up to you or whatever you have available. If you want to add a spicy touch, just add a pinch of chili pepper!

For the translation of some texts, artificial intelligence tools may have been used.