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Chef John's Cioppino
July 12, 2014

It was tough to make a recipe and stick to it, but I only made very small changes to this one. Instead of water I used chicken broth, but only because I needed to use it before it went bad. I also skipped the Dungeness crab, as I wasn't sure how to clean it and wanted to keep things simpler for myself. That being said, this recipe was awesome. Very flavorful and perfect with the fresh baked bread I served it with. I'm fairly sure that the person who said it was too sweet must have used a sweet wine (like a moscato or white Zinfandel), as mine wasn't sweet at all. I used the same Sauvignon blanc that I drink regularly and it turned out great. Not sweet at all. I couldn't find tomato purée at my grocery store, so I bought the tomato sauce that that didn't have any other ingredients than tomato purée and water. Be careful, though. Most tomato sauces had all kinds of extra seasoning added. Read the labels! This was my first time working with live mussels. Make sure you clean the outside of the shells and the easiest way to de-beard them is to use a paring knife to pull the beard against your finger and up out of the shell. Also, if you have any mussels in your bunch that are open and won't close back up that probably means the mussel is dead and you want to discard it. My only regret was that I didn't make a seafood stock from the shrimp I peeled (I bought large shell-on deveined shrimp) to add in place of the chicken stock I used out of necessity. Very good.

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