Sunday, February 8, 2015


Cioppino (pronounced cha-pee-no) --this is garlic, seafood, and savory yummy flavors in a bowl. 
Don't forget a good crusty garlic bread for dipping! I had always enjoyed a good cioppino in Italian restaurants and had never tried making my own until I found a recipe in the Portland Palate that looked fairly easy.  

Shellfish used to scare me to cook with.  How do you know if it's any good? How do you cook it? I've learned  a lot since those days and I have to say shellfish is about the lowest maintenance protein I can think of (next to beans).  I'll add some definite no-no's and a few hints about cooking shellfish just in case you're new to trying it.  If you're an expert, then feel free to add your comments below and let me know your secrets! 

You may be tempted to substitute the fresh herbs for the dried variety.  I encourage you to splurge and buy the fresh ones if you don't grow your own.  It truly does make the broth. 

This recipe is a variation of the original Portland Palate recipe I tried many years ago.  I like way more garlic and try to not use canned goods in my cooking.  Buon appetito!

2 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
10 cloves garlic- yep, I do mean 10.  I used 7 in this recipe and my hubby told me it didn't have enough.
1 green bell pepper, diced with seeds and membrane removed
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1 tsp minced fresh oregano 
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
1/4 cup chopped green onion
32 oz box seafood or vegetable broth
32 oz box chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
2 pounds live clams
2 pounds live mussels
1 pound raw shrimp, shells and tail removed
6 oz. fresh salmon fillet, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 13 oz. package of thin spaghetti
Crusty yummy garlic bread-- I use ciabatta from my local bakery


Heat olive oil in large stock pot.  Add chopped onion and garlic and suaté until onion is translucent and garlic aroma fills your kitchen!

Add chopped green pepper and stir.  Cook 2 minutes.  Add herbs and green onion, and continue sautéing for additional 3-4 minutes or until fully blended.  

Add chicken broth, seafood broth and tomato sauce and bay leaves.  Bring to slight boil and then reduce to simmer. Cover and continue simmering for at least one hour and up to three hours.  You may need to add more broth if the liquid reduces too much.  Your pot should be about 2/3 full of broth in order to hold all the seafood.  You can also cook the broth the day before and refrigerated overnight if you will be short on time the day you are going to serve it.  The last step with the seafood takes less than 30 minutes.

Rinse the clams and mussels by fully submerging them in cold water in a large bowl.  Let them soak for a good 30 minutes to allow all the sand to fully seep out of the shells.  Nobody wants to bite into a gritty grain of sand. Drain and rinse again. If there are any open shells, squeeze them shut and let go. If they close on their own, they are still alive and good to go.  If they don't stay shut, they are no good.  Discard!

About 30 minutes before serving, heat a large saucepan or pot of water to cook spaghetti.

Once broth is fully simmered and all flavors have completely filled your house, add the clams.  Cook for approximately 5 minutes before adding the rest of the seafood.  The clams will take the longest out of the seafood and you want to avoid having the shrimp turn too chewy.  Add the mussels, shrimp and salmon.

Add pasta to pot of boiling water.

Cook cioppino for approximately 15 minutes at a low rolling boil or until shells open up.  The salmon should turn opaque, the shrimp should be bright pink and all of the clams and mussels should have opened.  Discard any unopened stubborn shells.  These should not be eaten.

Put scoop of pasta in bottom of  large soup bowl.  Add cioppino on top and serve with that awesomely flavored garlic bread for good dipping.

Don't forget the wine!  We opened a nice bottle of Viu Manent Carmenére that was to die for. 

Dietary considerations:
Dairy free- use a dairy free butter garlic spread for the bread
Gluten free- use gluten free pasta or skip it all together; the soup stands on its own quite well
Whole30- omit the wine and serve without pasta and bread

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