We had a wonderful March cold front blow in today, complete with RAIN! (Something that's been sparse lately). That, combined with a coupon I had for $10 off seafood, convinced me that it was a perfect day for cioppino--an Italian seafood stew over pasta (or even just a nice crusty toast. This meal doesn't take particularly long to make and presents as a fancy meal. Everyone loved it--J drank the tomato sauce/broth out of his bowl--he wasn't as fond of the seafood, which was fine with M (who preferred the shrimp and scallops to everything else). He did enjoy making the mussels into vicious creatures that went "Raar!" and chased M. Curtis and I thought it was fabulous and more or less ate it all up!
2 T olive oil
1 c onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c green bell peppers, chopped (optional)
1 1 /2 c (1-14.5 oz can) tomatoes, chopped
2 T tomato paste
1 c dry red wine
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t red pepper flakes (optional)
2 bay leaves
1 T dried basil
1 t salt
1 c water
1/2 b mussels, rinsed and cleaned (optional--we actually usually don't use often these because Curtis doesn't like them)
1/2 lb clams, rinsed and cleaned (optional--we don't ever use)
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and rinsed
1/2 lb scallops, rinsed and drained
1/2 - 1 lb linguine (or toast...1/2 lb was enough for us tonight)
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
lemon wedges (optional)
Heat 1 T olive oil in a medium soup pot. Add onions and saute on medium heat until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and bell peppers and continue to saute until peppers soften, about 2 - 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, herbs, salt and water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer while preparing other ingredients. Tonight my sauce simmered for over 45 minutes while I worked on other things besides supper.
Bring water for pasta to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente.
Meanwhile, prepare the seafood. To clean the mussels (or you could also use clams as a substitution or in addition to the mussels--prepare them the same way), discard any that are open or broken (before cooking). Rinse the rest with cold water and scrub. Remove and discard the stringy beard of the mussels. In a separate saucepan, bring 1 c water to a boil (or enough to completely cover mussels). Add the mussels. Cook 2 - 5 minutes or until shells open. Remove with tongs and set aside. Discard any that do no open along with cooking liquid. Remove the bay leaves from the sauce and discard. Add shrimp and scallops and cook until shrimp turn pink and scallops are opaque, about 5 minutes. Remove sauce from heat.
Serve immediately. Put pasta (or toast) in a bowls. Arrange mussels (and clams) around the edge of bowl, ladle sauce over pasta. Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges.