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Cooler weather a great time for something a little crazy

Lately our nights have been cooler than I’m use to at this time of year. However, it’s a nice change from having to BBQ every night or be concerned about using a lot of heat in the kitchen while making supper.

I automatically look for a quick stick-to-your-belly comfort food that uses the ripe tomatoes and fresh herbs in my garden. An Acqua Pazza comes to mind, which literally means “crazy water.” Traditionally, it is an Italian dish in which fish is cooked in water flavoured with tomatoes and garlic. The liquid becomes a delicious broth that is spooned over the fish. Chilies, garlic and fresh tomatoes are the base of this recipe. You can substitute the chicken for fish if you prefer, as well.

I just love Italian cooking as it is so simplistic and it uses all the techniques I have been trained in. Although there is lots of summer left, use this recipe during the cooler nights and use your fresh tomatoes and herbs as I do.


Acqua Pazza


2 tsp oil

6 cloves garlic

4 cups chopped peel and seeded tomatoes

3 whole chilies seeded and deveined

2 cups fish or chicken, diced

1 cup fish or chicken stock

1/2 cup fresh basil

1/2 cup fresh tarragon

2 oz sambuca

Butter to finish


In a large pan over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic and sauté, stirring often, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes, then add tomatoes, stock and simmer for 10 minutes;

Add the chili flakes or fresh chilies, fish and cook on medium-low and simmer until fish is cooked, then add the sambuca;

Taste and adjust seasoning; finish with herbs and butter;

Serve alone or with favourite side dishes.

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