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My side of the family may be Austro-Hungarian, but my husband’s side of the family had a strong Italian influence. Mom-in-law cooked nothing but rustic Italian food, which she learned from her struggling immigrant parents in Buffalo, NY. I LOVED having dinner at her house on Sundays.
My side of the family may be Austro-Hungarian, but my husband’s side of the family had a strong Italian influence. Mom-in-law cooked nothing but rustic Italian food, which she learned from her struggling immigrant parents in Buffalo, NY. I LOVED having dinner at her house on Sundays (except for her green salads to which she added way too much oregano, argh!). This led me to love all things Italian. Here is my rendition of a seafood stew which I cannot call Cioppino, but it is easy to prepare, rich in flavor and loaded with seafood.
- 3 T olive oil
- 1/3 cup sweet or spring onions
- 1/3 cup chopped celery
- 1/3 cup fennel
- Salt and pepper
- 1 – 8 oz. bottle clam juice
- 1 cup spicy Marinara sauce (or your favorite red pasta sauce)
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 cup seafood, vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/2 T crushed garlic
- 1/4 tsp saffron threads
- Approx 1 – 1 1/2 lb seafood mix, to include shrimp, mussels (cleaned), firm white fish (such as cod) in chunks, calamari rings, scallops
- 2–3 parmesan rind pieces (optional)
- 1 c Ditalini (tubette pasta) or small macaroni
- Heat the oil in a medium or large pot. Add the onions, fennel, celery, and some salt and pepper, and saute over medium-low heat until the onions begin to brown (approx. 15 mins). Add the wine and scrape up any brown bits with a wooden spoon.
- Add the clam juice, marinara sauce, broth, garlic, saffron and parmesan rinds to the pot. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and continue to simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes.
- Add the ditalini, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about six minutes.
- Add the seafood mix, again turn up the heat to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 3-5 minutes. Uncover, check for any unopened mussels and discard. Also discard any leftover parmesan rinds. Ladle into soup dishes, serve with warm baguettes, and enjoy!
The spicy marinara sauce is the secret to the flavorful broth (although the other ingredients certainly make their contribution!). I have my favorites, sold in a jar, in the Italian section of the grocery store. I DON’T recommend a sauce with a higher sugar content (such as Barilla). You can buy frozen seafood mix at Costco, as well as at some grocery stores. I suggest supplementing it with fresh cod or other firm fleshed white fish such as halibut or bass (purchase at the seafood counter, not in the freezer section). The purpose of the parmesan rinds is to thicken the stew a bit, as well as add a little flavor. I found parmesan rinds in a small container for sale at Whole Foods.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: soup, stew
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: seafood, seafood stew, seafood soup, soup, easy, Italian, rustic, pasta, pasta soup
I’ve always loved cooking, and spent many years working on the food & beverage side of the hospitality industry, which served to increase my interest in food, wine and entertaining.