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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Acqua Pazza

Acqua Pazza literally translates to "crazy water" in Italian, referring to all of the bold spices and flavors in the sauce! My version isn't insanely spicy, but it's full of Italian flavor.


Acqua Pazza



Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

30 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Acqua Pazza


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and smashed)
  • 1 bulb fennel (halved and sliced thin)
  • 1 red onion (halved and sliced thin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 14-oz can cherry tomatoes, (such as Corbara Pomodorini)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon capers
  • Two 6-ounce filets striped sea bass (skin removed (see Cook's Note))
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (to finish)
  • Crusty bread (for serving)


  1. This recipe originated on Giada in Italy. Epsiode: Dino's 100th Birthday Party.
  2. Heat a large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, garlic, fennel, onion, and pepper flakes to the skillet. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, with a wooden spoon until the vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Deglaze with the wine and stir, scraping up any bits form the bottom of the scraping. Add the tomatoes, water and capers. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, sprinkle the filets with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Slide the fish filets into the broth and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook until the fish is firm and opaque all the way through, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the lid and spoon some of the sauce over the fish. Sprinkle with parsley, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the broth.



Nutrition Serving Size
per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
8 grams
12 grams
9 grams
Saturated Fat
1 grams
23 milligrams
520 milligrams
3 grams
4 grams
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3 reviews & comments

  • Author's avatar image
    Kimberly Couch

    This was even better a day later. Had to substitute the fish but it was such a wonderfully flavored dish I doubt anyone would have noticed.

  • Author's avatar image
    Beth Henry

    Cook's Note regarding fish?

  • Author's avatar image
    Nicole Nalchajian

    This is delicious and easy to make. I used cod loins which worked well. I also made it with Chilean seabass which of course was divine, but $$$! Can pair with crusty bread, or even some pappardelle.

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