Culinary SOS: Ciopinot’s ‘no work’ cioppino

Los Angeles Times

Dear SOS: We recently dined at Ciopinot in San Luis Obispo. We tried their “no work” cioppino, and it was the best cioppino we’ve ever eaten. Wonder if they will share the recipe? Thank you.

Brian Somodi

Laguna Beach

Dear Brian: It may take a little work prepping the ingredients, but Ciopinot’s take on this classic contains a lot of flavor in just a few simple steps, and it makes a perfect dinner for those cold winter nights! Enjoy!


Ciopinot’s ‘no work’ cioppino

Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Note: Adapted from Ciopinot in San Luis Obispo.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1/2 pound (about 1½) leeks, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced diagonally ½-inch thick

1 small clove garlic, pressed or minced


1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 dried bay leaf

1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme


1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

1 1/2 cups peeled and diced tomatoes, cut into ¾-inch dice

8 ounces tomato sauce


1 cup dry white or red wine

1/2 to 1 cup clam juice


Hot sauce


4 to 6 ounces large shrimp (16 to 20 count per pound), shelled and deveined

1/2 pound large scallops

6 ounces firm, light-flesh fish steaks (such as swordfish), cut into 1½-inch pieces

2 tablespoons cold butter, chopped


Freshly chopped basil and oregano, for garnish

1. In a medium, heavy-bottom pot heated over medium-high heat, add the oil, then stir in the onions, leeks, garlic, parsley, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, pepper and saffron. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent and the herbs are fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes.

2. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce and wine. Cover and simmer gently to develop the flavors, 30 to 45 minutes. Thin if desired with 1/2 cup to 1 cup clam juice. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 tablespoon hot sauce, or to taste. The cioppino base can be made ahead of time to this point; remove from heat, cover and refrigerate up to one day (reheat before continuing).

3. To the pot, add the shrimp, scallops and fish. Cover and simmer gently just until the fish and shellfish are firm and opaque, about 10 minutes. Uncover the pot and remove from heat. Stir in the chopped cold butter, stirring just until the butter melts to add a little richness to the broth. This makes about 5 cups cioppino. Ladle the cioppino into wide bowls, garnishing each serving with freshly chopped basil and oregano. Serve immediately.


Each serving: 338 calories; 23 grams protein; 16 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 16 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 111 mg cholesterol; 7 grams sugar; 915 mg sodium.