Shrimp in Crazy Water (Gamberoni all'Acqua Pazza) 4.000
Dec 5, 2007

This stripped-down stew with clean, bright flavors is on Mario Batali's menu for his last meal on Earth. It cries out for a big piece of crusty bread. It's a little messy to eat, because the shrimp are whole or tails-on, but that merely adds to the dish's informal charm.

Servings: 4
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice (1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons seeded and chopped hot chili peppers, such as red jalapeño
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped into 1/2-inch dice, fronds reserved (2 cups)
  • 1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand, with juice
  • 2 cups dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
  • 1/2 cup seawater, or 1/2 cup water mixed with 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • 16 jumbo shrimp, peeled, heads and/or tails on
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat until it is almost smoking. Add the onion, garlic, chili pepper and fennel; cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is soft and light golden brown. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the wine, and the seawater or salted water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for about 5 minutes, until they are just cooked through. Season with black pepper to taste.

To serve, pour into a soup tureen or divide among individual deep bowls; garnish with the reserved fennel fronds.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals," by Melanie Dunea (Bloomsbury, 2007).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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