When it’s pretty cold outside, you kind of crave something warm, hearty, and delicious – right? At least I do. I had these flavors running through my head from an old childhood dish I ate when visiting my Nonna in Italy, she called it Ciembott (che-m-bot) – fish stew. While my mom still makes it to this day, and it’s to die for, I wanted something a little different but just as good. So I looked in freezer and I had Mild Italian sausage and two pounds of shrimp. Immediately I thought of making a lighter version of the Ciambotta.
Traditionally the recipe calls for your daily catch – in America – that means whatever seafood you have in your freezer. Really though, it calls for fresh cod fish or white fish, calamari, mussels, clams, shrimp, skate fish, cat fish, blue fish, and other types of fish and seafood. It would simmer for hours and by the time the husbands came back in from work – which was usually the boats – dinner was ready to be served.
Today I’m going to lighten this recipe up to only two main proteins, but with the same amazing flavor. I paired it with Ditalini pasta and some crusty Italian bread. A nice glass of white vino will do nicely too.
So save and print the following recipe so that you can make it too!
- 2lbs - Shrimp - cleaned and deveined
- 1lb Mild or Hot Italian Sausage - chopped or loose
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Celery Stalks - cut diagonally
- 6 Cloves Garlic - minced or thinly chopped
- 2 Shallots or Small Onions - chopped
- 2 Cups White Wine - Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio
- 1 8oz Can of Crushed Tomatoes
- 8 Cups Chicken Broth or Stock
- 1 Can Cannellini Beans - rinsed and drained
- 4 Bay Leaves
- 1 Cup of Fresh Chopped Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, and Thyme (total should be 1 cup of herbs)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Prepare a pasta pot for the ditalini - cook, drain and set aside. Drizzle some olive oil so that it doesn't stick together.
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is shimmery add the celery, shallots or onions. Once the onion is a little translucent add the garlic.
- Cook, occasionally stirring, until the veggies have slightly softened - about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the sausage and cook until brown - about 5-6 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon remove the sausage to another bowl.
- Add the wine and deglaze the pan - scrape all the brown pieces from the bottom of the saucepan - use a wooden spoon.
- Once the alcohol has cooked away (you should no longer smell a strong wine smell) add the sausage back into the pan, the crushed tomatoes, chicken broth or stock, and bay leaves. Bring to a high simmer (low boil) and cover for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, uncover and the beans, herbs, and shrimp.
- Simmer for about another 4 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle the Ciambotta over the ditalini, serve with some crusty Italian Bread and a glass of wine!
- To make sure that the pasta doesn't over cook while waiting to be served, give it a quick rinse in cold water a few times and drizzle with olive oil.