This is one of those one-pot dishes that make cooking for a group so easy. Pancetta, onions and butter are slowly braised to make a well-seasoned base for baby potatoes and bites of tender fish.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 40 g (1½ oz) butter
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 60 g (2 oz) pancetta, finely diced
  • 1 large brown onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 350 g (12 oz) small new potatoes, halved
  • 80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) tomato passata
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) mullet fillets, skin and bones removed, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • flat-leaf parsley leaves and sliced
  • spring onion (scallion), to garnish
  • crusty bread, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Place the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan over low heat. When the butter has melted, add the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes or until softened and starting to release its fat. Add the onion and cook gently for about 20 minutes until well softened but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant, then add the potatoes, passata and 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) of water. Increase the heat and bring to the boil, then reduce to the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15–20 minutes until the potatoes are just cooked through but still firm.
  2. Add the fish and cook, covered, for another 10–15 minutes until cooked through. Remove the lid for the last 5 minutes or so if there is too much sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley and spring onion and serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices.


Recipe and images from Adriatico by Paola Bacchia, Smith Street Books, RRP $55.00