"Ciao" Down on Cioppino in Italy


ciop·​pi·​no: a stew of fish and shellfish cooked usually with tomatoes, wine, spices, and herbs.

Cioppino is one of those dishes that seems difficult and kinda fancy, but my Dinner Party version is simple, affordable and delicious. I serve alongside crusty bread and finish the meal with a simple 3 ingredient Nutella dessert. To keep this dish affordable, I don’t use pricey fish like Halibut or Chilean Sea Bass. Instead, I use more mussels and clams, which are inexpensive and fold in just a little bit of shrimp and lobster. I can usually find Lobster Tails for $8 at my grocery store and they go on sale often. One tail will allow each of your guests to have a little bite. Fish Stew is served best with fresh crusty bread. Italian Wine: strongly Advised. Pandora Station: Italian Cooking Music Radio.

Cioppino

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 3 large shallots, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes (feel free to omit or serve on the side)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 ½ cups dry white wine
  • 6 cups fish stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-pound clams (scrubbed)
  • 2-pound mussels (scrubbed and debearded)
  • 1-pound large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1 lobster tail (cut into 6 pieces)
  • Fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • Good crusty bread, for dipping

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottom pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat.
  2. Add fennel, shallots, carrots and salt and sauté until the shallots are translucent, around 10 minutes.  
  3. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and sauté 2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato paste and stir one minute
  5. Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot, along with the wine. Let the wine reduce by half, then add the fish stock and bay leaves
  6. Cover and bring to a simmer.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30-45 minutes (this step can be done ahead of time).
  8. Once you are ready to serve, bring broth back to a simmer and add the clams and mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin open, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and lobster. Simmer until the shrimp is cooked through
  9. Discard any clams and mussels that did not open.
  10. Season the soup to taste with more salt and red pepper flakes if needed.
  11. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with fresh parsley.
  12. Serve with crusty bread.

Strawberries & Nutella

Ingredients:

  • 18 Strawberries
  • 18 teaspoons Nutella
  • Handful of Pistachios, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Wash strawberries, pat dry.
  2. Slice each strawberry in half and using the tip of your knife, create a little hole in the center of the strawberry halves.
  3. Spoon Nutella into the corner of a Ziplock bag and cut corner off.
  4. Squeeze and fill each strawberry half with 1 teaspoon of Nutella
  5. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios
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