I realize that this version of cioppino may be considered blasphemous, but if adding sausage to a seafood soup is wrong, I don't want to be right. Traditionally, cioppino can be any combination of mussels, shrimp, clams, squid, crab... really any mixture of seafood. Here, it is simply shrimp and sausage - consider this to be surf and turf soup, if you want.
It's hearty and filling, a relatively quick meal, and is oh so comforting and delicious. As we settled in for dinner, I couldn't stop talking about how much I loved the broth. Typically the broth is an afterthought to me - I'm all about the meat and veggies in a soup. But this broth was simultaneously light and fragrant and comforting and hearty. It's a white wine-tomato broth, infused with the flavor of onions, garlic, fennel, and lots of fresh herbs. With sweet and tender shrimp, spicy sausage, and creamy white beans, this soup was definitely a thing of beauty. Served with a glass of white wine and a big piece of warm crusty bread, it was a comforting yet elegant weeknight dinner.
Shrimp and Sausage Cioppino
adapted from Weeknights with Giada
- 1 lb spicy Italian sausage, casings removed (substitute part of all for mild sausage if you prefer less spice)
- 1 large fennel bulb, cored, trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 large shallots, chopped
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
- 2 cups dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 (15-oz) can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
Preheat a Dutch oven or large saucepan to medium-high heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan, breaking it up into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring often, until it's browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage to a bowl and set aside, leaving as much of the rendered fat as you can in the pot.
Add enough olive oil to the pan to have 2 tablespoons of fat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the fennel, shallots, and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened and translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the wine, and use the wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the chicken broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes.
Uncover the pan and add the shrimp, beans, basil, and parsley. Simmer, uncovered, until the shrimp is pink and cooked through, 3-4 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and discard. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with crusty bread.