This recipe will show you how to make a fresh, homemade Cioppino Recipe. This Italian seafood stew is hearty and perfect any time of year.
This is an Italian-American recipe that actually originated in San Francisco. Keep reading and learn how to make this comforting stew.
What Is Cioppino?
Cioppino is an Italian-American fish stew that was created in San Francisco. There are lots of other similar recipes in in authentic Italian cuisine, but this one started right here in America.
In fact, this is one of my favorite recipes because you can make it from whatever you have in your refrigerator or freezer.
I always have a variety of wild-caught seafood in my freezer that I save for days when meal planning is the last thing on my mind. I had frozen shrimp, cod, scallops, and squid – all wild-caught, from Trader Joe’s.
Here’s what I used in my Cioppino stew, along with any substitutions. All of the exact ingredients are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Any type of onion tastes delicious in this stew. You’ll need to chop it into small squares, so if you want to shortcut this step, you can use frozen chopped onion.
Use fresh garlic if you have it. It will taste so much better than garlic powder.
This is optional, but it adds a really nice texture to the stew.
Use fresh tomato, not canned. It has a lot more flavor and a better texture.
I used a combination of basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, and bay leaves.
You can use a cooking wine or your favorite dry white wine. Don’t use sweet wine.
Use your favorite seafood – any kind that you enjoy eating! I used shrimp, scallops, squid rings, and wild-caught cod.
Make your own broth with tomato sauce, fish broth, and white wine.
You can find other Cioppino recipes anywhere but my recipe is very simple and yet it delivers the same punch. Instruction is very simple. Did I say simple?
Basically, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil, toss in celery, then, tomatoes and herbs. When they are tender, take them all out, and saute shrimp, scallops, squid, and cod – in that order – in the same pot in olive oil.
Add back the veggies, tomato sauce (I used leftover spaghetti sauce in mine), and use fish broth or kombu broth or chicken broth or even water if you like.
And that’s it.
While soup is simmering, smell the aroma, and slice the Ciabatta or any crusty bread, being careful not to cut your fingers because you are hurrying to eat the soup. And when it’s ready, sop up the broth with some crusty Ciabatta and your world will be at peace again.
Just enjoy Cioppino and forget about the hectic day you had today.
Tomorrow is another day.
They are basically the same soup. Cioppino is an Italian soup and has a tomato-based broth. Bouillabaisse is French and it has the same ingredients but with saffron added in.
I like to eat it with some crusty bread, a glass of white wine, and a fresh garden salad.
Since this is an Italian stew, I like to serve a fresh garden salad with arugula, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and a drizzle of Italian dressing.
This will stay fresh in your refrigerator for 3-4 days.
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Italian Seafood Stew: Cioppino
All seafood should be wild caught and not farmed – especially from a foreign country. Otherwise, this recipe will be terrible on your palate and you’ll go, “Gah~ What a terrible recipe Karen gave me! Peh peh…..!” and you’ll hate me forever so buy wild caught seafood. Always.
Italian Seafood Stew: Cioppino
- Dutch Oven
- ¼ Cup EVOO – extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Large Onion chopped into squares
- 5 cloves garlic crushed or roughly chopped
- 1 head celery stalks chopped leaves and all
- 2 Large tomato cubed
- 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
- ¼ tsp dried Thyme
- ¼ tsp dried sage
- ¼ tsp dried rosemary
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 tbsp white wine
- ½ C shrimp – any size shrimp will do
- ½ C Bay scallops – those little guys
- ½ C sliced squid rings – can be any part of squid but rings are prettier.
- ½ C Cod – cut in cubes
- 1 splash of white wine
- ¼ C tomato sauce
- 1 C Fish Broth or Kombu
- ⅛ C white wine
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Saute onions and garlic in EVOO until onion is translucent
- Add the rest of the veggies and herbs.
- Continue to saute until celery is translucent and tender. Take them out into a bowl.
- Add 2 Tbsp of EVOO to the pot. Add seafood in order, adding cod last and saute. Don’t over stir seafood otherwise, cod will crumble.
- Add the veggies. Add broth.
- When it boils, lower to simmer for about ten minutes.