Dinner tonight was born of the need to use up ingredients. I had fresh tomatoes, lots of fresh basil, a bit of fennel, a bit of leek, some celery. I also had the lobster/crab stock I made at the beginning of the week. And a bit of tomato paste. All those flavors screamed Cioppino! So I followed their siren song. The only seafood on hand is frozen calamari steaks, which Dave really likes.
So I chopped up an onion, the fennel, some celery, some leek, and crushed red pepper and sweated them in olive oil. Added a few cloves of chopped garlic and stirred for a few minutes, then the tomato paste and let it caramelize on the bottom of the pot for more flavor. Then the six cups of shellfish stock, and about four cups of seeded chopped tomatoes and a cup of chopped fresh basil. Corrected the seasonings, and simmered for a while.
Meanwhile I cut two calamari steaks into large pieces and rubbed them with salt and lemon juice. The reason I used large pieces is that there’s quite a bit of cioppino base so I want to use it for a full-on stew on Sunday. This way I can poach the calamari in it and be sure I can get all of it out of the broth. Otherwise I’ll have some rubbery overcooked calamari on Sunday.
Then we made some linguine and boiled that up while the calamari poached in the broth. Linguine into big pasta plates with calamari on top and some broth ladled around it. A Washington Barbera to drink. Not bad for a pantry meal.