Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year

As 2015 came to a close, we didn't celebrate till last night when our friend from Rome, Rick Breco came to have dinner and we had a slumber party.  Rick is one of the founders of Noi Salon in Rome, and I met him several years ago in Rome when my hair was in need of a dramatic makeover.  We've remained Facebook pals, and I go to the Salon every time I'm in Italy--he's the best, but he's also a great friend.  The Phillips family tends to adopt those we love, and he's one of the family.
When I asked him what he'd like for dinner, I gave him two choice, Boeuf Bourguignon, or Cioppino.  He suggested Cioppino for a primi, and the Boeuf as a secondo.  Fortunately, I was the decider and we had the Cioppino, which is a terrific do-ahead meal.  You make the base ahead of time (you can even freeze it) then add the seafood and it takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cook all the seafood in the base.
Recipes like this one are great to have up your chef's coat sleeve, so think about it the next time you have a dinner party. It only need lots of sourdough bread to sop up the sauce, and a salad.  I made a limoncello tiramisu for dessert, but it was kind of overkill.  Next time it will be cookies and a dessert wine.

1/3 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped red and yellow bell pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes in heavy puree (I used Cento San Marzanos)
1 1/2 cups white wine (Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon blanc)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound King crab legs, split, and cut into 3-inch pieces (if they are too big they take up too much room in the pot)
1 pound scallops, cut in half if large
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
20 to 30 Manila clams
1 pound sea bass or halibut filets, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil

In an 8-quart stock pot, heat the oil, add the garlic, onioin, pepper, red pepper, oregano and basil, and saute for 4 to 5 minutes until the onion and pepper are softened.  Add the tomatoes, wine, sugar, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes.  At this point you can refrigerate the base for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.  

30 minutes before serving, heat the base, and add the crab, scallops, shrimp, clams and fish.  simmer until the clams open (discard any that don't open) and the shrimp turn pink.  Stir in the parsley and basil, taste for seasoning and adjust using salt or pepper if needed.  Serve in shallow bowls with lots of bread to dunk into the sauce.  
This is a great meal anytime of the year

Make sure to have dish to discard the shells, and water with lemon to wipe sticky fingers

As we begin this new year, I'm so grateful to have a job that I love and students/followers who are so supportive.  Wishing you all the best in 2016. Dr. C. and I are heading back to Rome in April for a month at the American Academy in Rome to study their sustainable food project, something near and dear to my heart.  I cannot wait to begin this next part of my journey, and I'm honored to share with you.  Happy New Year!

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