At seafood restaurant Angiolina in Pisciotta, south of Naples, I enjoyed a wonderful seafood and vegetable soup. Back home I made my own version. You can easily adapt it to what is available and seasonal, in terms of both seafood and vegetables. The main point about this soup is to use a variety of seafood and the delicious broth that will emerge from the ingredients.
For 3 servings
300 grams (.66 lb) mussels, cleaned and checked (they should be closed)
300 grams (.66 lb) clams, cleaned and checked (they should be closed)
150 grams (.33 lb) cleaned baby octopus, chopped
150 grams (.33 lb) cleaned small squid, chopped
1 red bell pepper
150 grams (.33 lb) runner beans or green beans
300 grams (.66 lb) potatoes
150 grams (.33 lb) cherry tomatoes
2 celery stalks
1 clove garlic
120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large casserole. Add the garlic clove and cook until it is golden on all sides.
Add the squid and octopus.
Stir fry until the squid and octopus have lost their raw color…
…then lift the squid and octopus out of the casserole with a strainer and set aside.
Add the white wine to the juices left in the casserole.
Add the mussels.
Cover and cook over high heat…
…until they have opened. Then turn off the heat…
…lift the mussels out of the casserole with a strainer and set aside.
Add the clams to the casserole.
Cover and cook over high heat until they open.
As soon as they are open, lift them out of the casserole with a strainer and set aside.
The mussels and clams are cooked separately because they may require a different time to open up. You don’t want to cook the mussels or clams any longer after they have opened up, because that would make them tough.
Return the reserved squid and octopus to the broth, and season with freshly ground black pepper.
Cover the casserole, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. The squid and octopus will require about 1 hour of slow simmering to become tender.
While the octopus and squid are simmering, clean and chop the vegetables. Cut the eggplant and zucchini into quarters lengthwise, and then into thick slices. Cutting them in this way ensures that each piece has a bit of skin.
Peel or clean all of the vegetables and cut them into bite size pieces.
Remember that the squid and octopus will require about an hour of simmering. About 30 minutes before the squid and octopus will be cooked, start adding the vegetables to the casserole. The time needed for each vegetable will depend on your personal taste and on the firmness of the vegetables. For example, eggplants in Italy are much more firm and will require a longer time (approximately 30 minutes) than greenhouse eggplants from the Netherlands (approximately 15 minutes).
I made a mistake and added the potatoes and cherry tomatoes at the same time. Potatoes will generally need about 20 minutes (depending on the size you cut them in), but the cherry tomatoes only 10 minutes. Runner beans will require approximately 15 to 20 minutes, green beans about 10 minutes. Celery and bell pepper about 10 minutes. Cover the casserole again after each addition and keep regulating the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
Once all the vegetables are almost cooked to your liking (as you can tell the cherry tomatoes have fallen apart by now, so I should have added them later)…
…add the reserved mussels and clams (together with any juices) on top, and cover. Allow a couple of minutes to heat the mussels and clams through.
Serve the zuppa with the broth and garnish with fresh basil.
This is great with an Italian white with some body to it, like a Fiano di Avellino.
One of the most classic types of ravioli is those filled with ricotta and spinach, served with butter and sage.