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December 23, 2009

In my family, we celebrate Christmas Eve with a steaming bowl of cioppino served over orzo pasta. The cioppino has seven different types of seafood, creating a deep flavor. Many people leave in the shells and make the eater work for their food, but my family believes the trick to a great cioppino comes in doing the dirty work before hand, which is why we take out all the bones and shells before we begin cooking. It’s more work at the beginning, but it makes eating more enjoyable as you are free to just enjoy the flavor. Because it tends to be thick, it’s more like a stew than a soup, but even though it’s filling, you won’t be able to resist a second helping. “I don’t like fish!” you may be thinking. My husband is not a huge fish fan either, but even he loves this traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Give the cioppino a try, whether with your family on Christmas Eve or on another occasion, and please let me know what you think. Merry Christmas!



1 onion, chopped

1 handful of parsley

2-3 stalks of celery, chopped

1 quart tomato sauce

1 little can tomato juice

1 can chicken broth

2 lbs. sea bass (or cod)

1 lb. orange roughy

3 crabs

2 lbs. medium-sized prawns

1 lb. small shrimp

2 lb.s scallops

2 cans of clams with juice


Saute a big onion with parsley and celery. Add the fish (cut in pieces). Stir for a few minutes. Add tomato sauce, tomato juice, and chicken broth. Let cook for 30 minutes. Add crabs and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. Add scallops and clams with juice and cook for another 15 minutes. Season to taste. Serve  over orzo pasta and enjoy!

*Note: You can add a Tablespoon of cornstarch if it’s too thin.

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