Clam Cioppino

The weather is cooling down a bit and the days are getting shorter. Dinner is an important meal in New England families. With the weather getting cold hearty meals like this classic cioppino just warm your soul. Serve with crusty sourdough bread to soak up all of the flavorful broth. You can add whatever shellfish you like, and even fish. Scallops and monkfish are good in cioppino. Another suggestion is to serve it over linguine pasta.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 65 minutes

* 1/4 cup olive oil or salad oil
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
* 1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
* 2/3 cup chopped parsley
* 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
* 1 can (28 ounces) tomatoes
* 1 cup dry red or white wine
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 teaspoon dry basil
* 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano leaves
* 12 clams in shell, suitable for steaming, scrubbed
* 1 pound large shrimp, (30 per pound), shelled and deveined
* 2 live or cooked large Dungeness crab (about 2 pounds each), cleaned and cracked

In 6-8 quart pan over medium heat, combine oil, onion, garlic, bell pepper, and parsley. Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft. Stir in tomato sauce, tomatoes (break up with spoon) and their liquid, wine, bay leaf, basil, and oregano. Cover and simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.

To broth, add clams, shrimp, and crab. Cover and simmer gently until clams pop open and shrimp turn pink, about 20 minutes. Ladle hot broth and some of each shellfish into large bowls. Serve with warm sourdough bread.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings