Recipes from Marche, Italy

For this entry, I made two recipes. Neither of them were especially good, but I don't blame the people who posted the original recipes or any of the traditions they came from, I blame myself and my propensity for Googling things that might kill me.

Recipes from Marche, Italy: Brodetto

A seafood stew with mussels and clams, minus the Vibrio.

Recipes from Marche, Italy: Filone Casereccio

An Italian bread that will come out much better than mine did if you use fresh brewer's yeast and steam.

Recipes from Malta

This is actually the third time I’ve cooked a meal from Malta. The first time, I cooked the meal and then just did not write the blog post. Years went by.

Recipes from Malta: Imqarrun

Imquarrum (also called Imqarrun il-forn) is descended from a dish served in Sicily, but the Maltese have adopted it as a traditional staple. The key to making this dish is to be patient.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Recipes from Marche, Italy

For this entry, I made two recipes. Neither of them were especially good, but I don't blame the people who posted the original recipes or any of the traditions they came from, I blame myself and my propensity for Googling things that might kill me. It just so happens that shortly before I made this meal, I learned that the reason you're supposed to boil shellfish alive is because it contains Vibrio, which sounds like a lovely genre of orchestral music with harpsichords and violins and stuff but is not.

Vibrio is a bacteria that proliferates out of control beginning in the moment immediately following the death of the animal that harbors it. According to the CDC, eating food infected with Vibrio causes either a mild illness or certain death, I can't quite tell which one. Apparently, people who are exposed to Vibrio parahaemolyticus usually just get sick but around 1 in 5 of those exposed to Vibrio vulnificus die, so maybe it's best to avoid all types of Vibrio just to be on the safe side.

Anyway prior to obtaining this information I put some frozen clams and frozen oysters into my shopping cart for the occasion of making food from Marche, Italy, and then I walked around the store for another 45 minutes and then I spent another 90 minutes in the car driving home, giving Vibrio more than two hours to make themselves and several thousand generations of their children at home in my food. I did actually boil the crap out of the oysters and clams in fear for the lives of myself and my children but by then the mental block was already there. So I did not enjoy the meal, but I should also add that I really think I just don't like all the weird little bits of strange-looking things that go along with eating shellfish, so I was extra-predisposed to not liking this particular culinary experience. 

Where is Marche?

Having said all of that, Marche is a region in the central part of Italy. It's home to around 1.5 million people and has a 107-mile-long coast, hence its apparent love of seafood. It does have some other specialties like Maccheroncini di Campofilone, a very thin pasta that in retrospect would have been fun to make and wouldn't have made me fear for my life, but it's too late to go back now. 

Here's what I made. Eat shellfish at your own risk. Definitely don't let it defrost for 2-plus hours. 

Good luck to you all. 

(Header photo by trolvag is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)

Recipes from Marche, Italy: Filone Casereccio

It could have baked for longer, plus I did not use the water tip, hence the lame-looking crust.


  • 7.2 cups bread flour
  • 2 3/4 cups water
  • 3 g fresh brewer's yeast
  • 2 1/4 tsp fine salt


  1. Mix the flour with 2 2/3rds cup water and let rest for half an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, dissolve the brewer's yeast in the remaining water.
  3. Add the dissolved yeast and the salt to the dough and knead (or just put it in your bread machine).
  4. Put the dough in the refrigerator and leave overnight.
  5. About an hour before you're ready to bake, take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature. Then divide it into two loaves and let it rise for 2 hours.
  6. Make three diagonal slits across the top of each loaf.
  7. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the loaves are a golden brown color and sound hollow when you knock on them.
  8. *For a crustier crust, put some water in a metal pan on the bottom rack of the oven and let it heat up as the oven does. The steam will help the loaves form a crust as they bake.

What we thought:

 My brewer's yeast was not fresh brewer's yeast, which is probably why this bread came out dense. This is not the fault of the recipe, but my results were pretty mediocre. I also did not use the water trick mentioned in step 8, which is why my crust looks as boring as it does.

My kids liked it. To be fair, though, they like all bread.

Recipes from Marche, Italy: Brodetto

If you aren't afraid of it, I'm sure it's delicious.


For the stock:
  • Fish bones, (saved from the plaice and mullet) chopped into about 6 pieces
  • 1.5 quarts of water
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1/2 fennel, sliced
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 handful of parsley stalks
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Salt to taste
For the stew:
  • 1 plaice, filleted, reserving the bones
  • 1 mullet, (red or grey) filleted, reserving the bones
  • 4 large prawns, or 8 smaller ones
  • 5 oz mussels, cleaned
  • 5 oz clams
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 fennel, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stick, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 8 San Marzano or Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Salt to taste


  1. Cook the onion, fennel, and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
  2. Add the fish bones and cover with the water. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that collects on the surface.
  3. Add the thyme and parsley.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Fry the fennel seeds and coriander in olive oil until fragrant. Add the onion, fennel, celery and garlic. Cook on low heat until translucent.
  6. Add the tomatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring often.
  7. Strain the fish stock and add to the pot with the vegetables. Let simmer for one hour or until the liquid is reduced by about a third.
  8. Add the mussels, clams, prawns, and fish. Cover and cook for four or five minutes.
  9. Discard any mussels or clams that did not open.
  10. When the fish is flaky, it's ready to serve.

What we thought:

If you read the introduction to this meal, you already know what we thought. I boiled this long enough that any Vibrio that might have been in it were definitely dead, but I still did not enjoy it. Mental block, like I said.

My kids also did not enjoy it, but it was probably more of an "ew clams and mussels" thing for them than anything else. My husband also did not enjoy it, but he also has an "ew clams and mussels" thing so our assessment is really not completely fair. If you do like shellfish, it's probably delicious.

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