Holiday dining at home: Chicago chef David DiGregorio’s ‘Holiday Pescatore’ recipe

This recipe for seafood stew is often served as part of the “Feast of the Seven Fishes” Christmas celebration, the chef at Osteria Via Stato says.

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Chef David DiGregorio stands inside Osteria Via Stato on the North Side.

Chef David DiGregorio of Osteria Via Stato shares his recipe for seafood stew, perfect for the traditional “Feast of the Seven Fishes,” or any time of year.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

We asked Chicago chefs to share their favorite holiday recipes, dishes that reflect their cultural traditions, and to tell us why the recipes mean so much to them. Here is one recipe to make at home during the holiday season or any time of year.

Chef David DiGregorio

Osteria Via Stato, 620 N. State St.

Dish: Holiday Pescatore (Holiday Seafood Stew)

“I have wonderful childhood memories of my grandfather preparing the Feast of the Seven Fishes every Christmas Eve. The holiday was centered around food and family and we looked forward to it every year. My favorite bite was tiny fried smelts, so tender and crispy.

At Osteria Via Stato, the Seafood Stew has been a tradition on the Feast of the Seven Fishes menu for many years. The savory, hearty tomato broth is one of my favorite things to cook and eat. For me, it is all about nostalgia and family.” — Chef David DiGregorio

Holiday Pescatore (Holiday Seafood Stew)

Servings: 4

A bowl of seafood stew, created by Chef DiGregorio, is plated at his restaurant, Osteria Via Stato.

A bowl of seafood stew, created by Chef DiGregorio, is plated at his restaurant, Osteria Via Stato.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound salmon or whitefish cut in 2 oz chunks (marinate in EVOO and minced garlic)
  • 2 Tbsp roasted garlic
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 12 shrimp (21/25 count size)
  • 8 scallops (10/20 size)
  • 12 cup sliced cooked fingerling potatoes
  • 1 quart Pescatore Broth (recipe follows)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 14 cup washed basil and parsley leaves (rough chop)
  • crusty bread for dipping

Directions:

1) Add broth to heavy sauce pan with fish chunks, roasted garlic, chili flake, potatoes and butter. Bring to a simmer. Add shrimp and herbs. Taste and season if needed with salt and pepper.

2) Season scallops with salt and pepper on both sides. In a separate saute pan over high heat, saute scallops one one site until golden brown in color. Turn scallops over and shut off heat. Add a piece of butter to baste scallops and finish cooking.

3) Place Pescatore in large serving bowl, putting most of fish in center, then add the scallops on top.

4) Garnish with torn Italian parsley leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Pescatore Broth Recipe

Yield: 2 quarts

Ingredients:

  • 12 cup Spanish onion (1/4 inch dice)
  • 12 cup washed celery  (1/4 inch dice)
  • 2 tbsp garlic cloves (thinly shaved)
  • 12 bulb fresh fennel (1/4 inch dice)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 cups crushed canned plum tomatoes
  • 1 pinch of dried red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp chili oil
  • 6 cups clam broth (recipe follows)

Directions:

1. In heavy sauce pan, heat olive oil on medium/high flame. Add onion, celery, garlic and fresh fennel. Sauté vegetables until softened, without browning

2. Add chili flakes, chili oil, bay leaves, fennel seed, thyme, salt and pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes.

3. Add crushed tomatoes, with juice Simmer slowly for 15 minutes

4. Add clam broth, and tomato sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes more.  

5. Remove pan from heat. Cool, completely.

Prep Clam Broth Recipe

Yield: 6 cups 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 cup split and washed leek (cut into 14 inch slices)
  • 2 tbsp garlic (finely minced)
  • 12 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 sprig washed fresh thyme
  • 1 fresh Bay leaf
  • 12 cup white wine
  • 1 quart sea clam juice
  • 2 12 cups water
  • 12 oz fresh lemon juice
  • A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Heat oil in heavy bottom sauce pan. Add leeks and garlic. Sweat without browning.

2. Add chili, bay and thyme. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add white wine and reduce by half.

3. Add clam juice and water. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes at a simmer. 

4. Finish with fresh lemon juice. Cool completely.

Osteria Via Stato is located at 620 N. State St.

Osteria Via Stato is located at 620 N. State St.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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