The beauty about stews is that you can put in just about anything, simmer them for a while, and, voila, instant cultural icon. Take the cioppino for instance; no matter how mouthful it may be to pronounce it, this seafood stew is a mouthful of taste. There are various versions of the cioppino and the recipe for it is usually long, but the process of cooking is straightforward as it can be. It’s the ideal dish for the cold winter season coming to Reno in a few months. As Nami of Just One Cookbook shares:

It’s been one week since I came back from the recent Japan trip, and I’ve been feeling extremely cold here in San Francisco after spending 6 weeks in hot and humid weather there. My body isn’t completely adjusted yet and all I want for dinner is nice warm soup…

Then I remembered the Cioppino recipe that I made a while ago. So today I am taking a break from summer recipes and will share this delicious seafood stew instead. I hope my South Hemisphere readers are happy to see this nice warm dish in the midst of winter.

The roots of cioppino go back to San Francisco, but the credit for introducing the dish goes to Italian sailors from Genoa, a city in northern Italy. Nobody really knows how cioppino got its name, but the Genovesi cooked this dish in the same fashion. They would “chip in” whatever their nets caught that day and turn them into a tasty tomato-based stew. Of course, that’s only a theory; its history prior to its debut in San Francisco is still shrouded in mystery.

There are various versions of the cioppino; however, stews are flexible enough to have just about anything. Many recipes called for Dungeness crab and Little Neck clams, but several restaurants in Reno, NV like The Grill at Quail Corners like to be unique. They substituted Dungeness for king crab and Little Neck for manila clams. You can have cioppino anyway you want it as long as it has a seasoned tomato base.

Cioppino is a tasty entree especially when the chilly weather rolls in. If you don’t have the time to cook it yourself, you can enjoy this dish in Reno dining spots to keep yourself warm while you watch the first snowflakes fall.

(From Cioppino, Just One Cookbook, Published August 7, 2013]