Sunday Dinner: Our Favourite Cioppino with Classic Rosé

Posted by: samy February 11, 2013 2 Comments

Ciopinno with rose in bgToday’s dinner inspiration stems from Mother Nature.

After hunkering down the past few days to wait out what many are calling the biggest snowstorm in years, this weekend’s weather was truly brilliant here in Toronto with bright sunshine and clear skies. Just what we needed for some serious winter weather fun.

Of course, coming in from the still sub-zero temps reminded us that despite the much-needed Vitamin D, it’s still stew weather.

For tonight’s feast, we went to our classic cioppino recipe, based on this epicurious.com recipe. It’s  surprisingly quick, and doesn’t really demand too much attention to detail – which is a-ok in our books, we’ve got better things to do on the weekend, anyway, than sweat the details of family dinner.

The tomato base lends a lot for wine pairing flexibility – we’ve matched it with everything from Chianti to Riesling – and this time, perhaps out of yearning for summer weather, or maybe wishful thinking we were dining to the background sounds of water lapping the shore in the South of France, we went with rosé.


serves 6-8


  • 4 Tblsp olive oil, divided
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups white wine wine (we like to use higher acid whites like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 liter crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bottle clam juice (straining out the solids at the bottom)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 16 0z. tin lump crab meat
  • 1 lb. clams, cleaned well
  • 1 lb. mussels
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp (16 to 20), shelled and deveined
  • 1 lb. bay scallops
  • 2 tubes squid, sliced into narrow rings
  • French baguette
  • 1/2 clove garlic


1. Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat, add onion, cook for a few minutes until translucent

2. Add diced garlic and bell pepper, cooking another minutes or two

c:u bay leaf

3. Add herbs and spices, stir to coat vegetables

4. Add tomato paste, stir to coat vegetables

5. Add white wine, reduce by half

Cioppino broth in pot

6. Add vegetable stock, clam juice and crushed tomatoes; partially cover and simmer for about an hour to let flavours blend

7. Enjoy a glass of wine while you wait – you deserve it

8. After simmering, taste for salt and pepper and adjust to your taste

Clams starting to open in ciopinno

9. Add in cleaned clams, submerge in liquid and cover until they fully open (in our experience this can take about 10 minutes)

Opemed clams

10. Remove from broth, throwing away unopened ones, and set aside

Our fish monger only had frozen pre-cooked mussels left, not ideal, but it was fine. We just threw them in towards the end. Again, it's a very forgiving recipe.
Our fish monger only had frozen pre-cooked mussels left, not ideal, but it was fine. We just threw them in towards the end. Again, it’s a very forgiving recipe.

11. Add in mussels until they have opened, about 5 minutes or so, remove from bowl and set aside. Optional: we like to remove the mussels from their shells, as we find all the shells of the clams and mussels take up a lot of room and it can get annoying to have to pick through your food. We leave the clams in their shells for presentation’s sake, but obviously, this is totally up to you.  

c:u scallops12. Stir in shrimp and scallops, allowing them to simmer about 2 minutes

tinned cran meat13. Stir in crab meat and continue simmer for another minute

14. Add in squid to broth, cook another minute or 2 (you want to leave squid until the last few moments as it can get rubbery if left simmering too long)

15. Return cooked mussels and clams to warm through


Brushing garlic bread

  1. Preheat over to 350
  2. Slice baguette in half horizontally
  3. Pour remaining 2 Tbsp olive in a bowl and sprinkle lightly with sea salt
  4. Brush seasoned oil over bread
  5. Bake for approximately 7 minutes, until toasty
  6. Remove from oven and rub hot bread with raw clove of garlic

The Wine Sisters’ Pairing

As mentioned above, this versatile recipe can go with many different wines -red and white. Because of higher acidity of the tomatoes, try to pair a higher acid wine, like Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Riesling or a white Bordeaux.

However, the classic match in Provence, where this dish’s French cousin, Bouillabaisse, is served by the ladle full, is dry rosé.

Sketches rose

We like: Tawse “Sketches of Niagara” Rosé, VQA Niagara Peninsula, 2011

$15.95 Vintages 172643




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