Gluten Free/ Recipes/ Seafood & Fish/ Soups

Spicy Cioppino My Way

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I am so excited to share with you all my Spicy Cioppino My Way recipe. It is one of my favorite seafood dishes, I make it several times a year. This post sponsored by World Market. 
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I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Italy. Everyone I know that goes just loves every bit of it from the scenery, the people and the food. Always hear how amazing the food is. 

Some friends of mine were on their honeymoon in Italy recently and all their pictures (including the obligatory hold up the leaning tower of Pisa pics) made me want to travel there even more now than ever before. I have always been a fan of Italian food, but not so much the pasta dishes, but their seafood dishes. Everyone thinks pasta when they think of Italy; when Italy is really known for many seafood and fish recipes with all of its great coastlines and daily fresh caught seafood everywhere just as much as they are known for pasta.

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Cioppino (Pronounced Chu-pea-no) is said to be “developed in the late 1800s by Italian fishermen who immigrated to San Francisco, many from Genoa, Italy.  It was made on the boats while out at sea and later became a staple as Italian restaurants proliferated in San Francisco. The name comes from ciuppin, a word in the Ligurian dialect of the port city of Genoa, meaning “to chop” or “chopped” which described the process of making the stew by chopping up various leftovers of the day’s catch. Ciuppin is also a classic soup of Genoa, similar in flavor to cioppino, with less tomato, and the seafood cooked to the point that it falls apart”. (Wikipedia).  Cioppino has always been a family favorite dish, my mom and I both being huge fans of it. We would always order it from Enterprise Fish Co., a favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara, CA., where I grew up, and I have been making it yearly for Christmas eve dinner.

Spicy Cioppino My Way

In Italian cuisine there is a Feast of the Seven Fishes at Christmastime, usually 7 different seafood dishes, sometimes up to a dozen, and quite often celebrated on Christmas eve. Since I have been married we have done non-traditional traditions for holidays, where we make something different each year. One year I decided to do the Feast of Seven Fishes but all in one pot with my Cioppino. I had my usual seafood with clams, mussels, cod, prawns and crab, and I also added in scallops and calamari. Really anything goes in cioppino. This pretty much became our Christmas eve tradition, and the seafood depended on what was available where we lived.
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When I told my mom I was making this she was very envious and when I texted her a pic ( my mom texts, crazy right?) she said I was just torturing her and she said she was now craving cioppino and cake and had a huge problem because she was in the wrong state.  Too bad we don’t have Jetson phones and can take a pic of a food item, hit send and it appears on the recipients plate.  Soon enough I am sure.

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Cioppino is made with either white wine or red. Some say just white; however I have always been a fan of using both in my recipe. I love that World Market has a nice selection of wines from all over, they are where I buy all of my wine. I joke with a friend that I could get paid in wine, coffee and chocolate from World Market and be a happy girl.  So when I was looking at the Italian wines I texted a good friend of mine who is a Sommelier and asked her what Italian wines she thought would be best. She sent back a ton of amazing info on what wines came from what region of Italy, which were the best pairing with seafood and I found out that Sangiovese is the grape that makes Chianti. I like the idea of having her suggest wine pairings with some of my recipes I make so expect to see more of that on my blog. I need to help convince her to start a wine blog!!

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Another really exciting part of this promotion is that World Market has teamed up with the TV show, My Family Recipe Rocks hosted by Joey Fatone on the Live Well Network. My Family Recipe Rocks features amazing hometown cooks across America. Joey Fatone and his crew are cooking up old family recipes, new homegrown dishes and meeting the people behind this great food in their own kitchens. What an amazing show!!   To watch My Family Recipe Rocks Tune-in Sundays ayt 8:30p/7:30p central. For local listings check  Here is Joey to tell you all about it:

You can follow My Recipe Rocks on Twitter HERE for the latest updates on the episodes.

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Yield: 6

Spicy Cioppino My Way

Spicy Cioppino My Way

Spicy Cioppino My way A spicy and really flavorful version of the Italian immigrant seafood stew. Perfect for any time of the year.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours



  • Slice the top off the garlic bulb exposing the cloves and place in a piece of foil. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and roast in a 350 degree oven for about 35-40 min or until very soft. Remove from the oven until cool enough to handle and remove all the cloves. Mash into a paste.
  • In a large stockpot or Dutch oven heat the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the fennel, onion and leeks and sauté until starting to caramelize, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add in the mashed roasted garlic and stir another 30 seconds. Rub the oregano and basil between your hands to release their oils and add them to the pan with the smoked paprika, red chile flakes and balsamic vinegar. Stir again another 30 seconds. Add in the paste and 1 cup of each the white wine and red wine. Stir well and bring to a simmer for about 5 min to reduce the wines slightly. Pour in the clam juice, the San Marzano tomatoes with their juice, the remaining wine and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Taste the cioppino and season with salt and pepper. Using and immersion blender, blend the soup about 30 seconds only partially pureeing it. Add the remaining ½ c of each wine.
  • Raise the heat to medium and add the clams and mussels, then the prawns, fish and crab claws (if using). Let cook about 5 minutes until all the clams and mussels have opened, the prawns are opaque and the fish has cooked.
  • Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the parsley. Add additional hot sauce if desired for more spice! Serve hot with more red and white wine to drink and of course good crusty Italian bread for dipping.
  • Notes

    The broth can be made ahead of time and either refrigerated or frozen until ready to finish the dish. Just thaw and heat to a simmer before adding the seafood.
    Smoked paprika, extra red pepper flakes and balsamic vinegar are my "secret ingredients" to making this cioppino extra good.
    If you are intimidated by the thought of prepping the seafood you can always ask anyone at your local seafood store or seafood counter at your grocery store to prep it for you, they are always happy to help.

    *Spices from World Market found HERE

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

    Items used in my recipe from World Market:

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    Balsamic Vinegar and Italian Olive Oil. Great for dipping bread in as well as using in recipes

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    San Marzano tomatoes are the best for Italian Cooking. This Mutti tomato paste is the best I have ever used.

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    Any dry Italian white and red wines will work in this dish. I like to use ones I will drink along with the stew, not use them just for cooking. These two are excellent wines

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    I buy all my spices at World Market. They are very high quality and many are organic.


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  • Reply
    December 20, 2018 at 2:03 am

    I started a feast of the seven fishes tradition in our house 6 years ago. This will be my second time making this recipe for Christmas Eve. I love it! It comes together so easily. It even works with frozen seafood straight from the freezer. I serve it with a green salad with a light vinaigrette and loaf of crusty bread for dipping. Both the Sangiovese and Blanco are perfect to drink with it, as well.

    • Reply
      December 21, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      Oh I love Sangiovese!

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