Italian Cioppino Recipe by Maria Montana

Italian Cioppino

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Nothing is better than an Italian–American Cioppino, which originated in San Francisco. Send your man fishing and transform his catch of the day into a wonderful tomato–based fish stew (or for an adventure closer to home, there are always wonderful fish markets for him to visit). Simple but sublime, the combination of seafood in this recipe is perfect for a romantic dinner for two; feel free to double or even triple the recipe for a larger crowd of friends. For some amusing spaghetti twirling, this Cioppino is perfect served over pasta or with a large sourdough baguette.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
3 tablespoons extra–virgin olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon chili flakes
1 (28–ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 (6–ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups clam juice or fish stock
2 whole bay leaves
1 pound mussels, scrubbed
1 pound large shrimp, uncooked, peeled and deveined
1 pound white cod fish fillets, cut into 2–inch chunks
½ bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large sourdough baguette 
16 ounces pasta, cooked according to package instructions (optional)


Heat olive oil in a large sauce–pot over medium heat. 

Add fennel and onions; sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. 

Add garlic, chili flakes and diced tomatoes; simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, wine, clam juice and bay leaves. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium to low heat, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Add mussels; cover and cook until mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp and fish; simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through and the mussels have completely opened. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper. 

Turn off heat and let sit covered for about 10 minutes. To serve, ladle Cioppino into bowls over pasta.