3 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 flat fillets of anchovies, drained (in olive oil, preferred) shopping list
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced (the anise flavor totally mellows out as it cooks and adds such a depth of background flavor – essential)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste (if you want more, add ½ cup)
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine (if I don’t have white wine, I add beer)
5 cups fish stock (can use clam juice or chicken broth or any combination)
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed (about 1 tablespoon fresh – or you could use 1 teaspoon dried thyme if you can’t get the fresh)
1 bay leaf
1 pound clams, scrubbed
1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1 pound oysters, shucked and in their liquor
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound sea scallops (or can use bay scallops for a little sweeter taste)
¼ pound squid
¼ pound octopus
¼ pound cuttlefish (optional – but delicious!)
1 1/2 pounds assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets such as halibut or cod, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Optional: Sub in lobster and/or crab – your faves…yummm!
crusty bread for sopping the juice…so good…a must have, peeps.

1. Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat.
Add anchovies – let melt into oil.
Add the fennel, onion, shallots, celery, salt and black pepper and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir tomato paste into veggies and let cook out for about 3-5 minutes (the tomato paste will start to caramelize, turning from red to a brownish color).
3. Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and cook 2 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock, thyme and bay leaf.
5. Cover and bring to a simmer.
6. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer on medium-low until the flavors blend – at least an hour…but I like to let it go for a couple of hours.
7. Add the clams, mussels and oysters to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes.
8. Add the shrimp, scallops, squid, octopus, cuttlefish and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any clams and mussels that do not open).
9. Remove bay leaf. Season the soup, to taste, with more salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.
10. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread.

(Adapted from http://www.grouprecipes.com/84621/my-cioppino-italian-seafood-stew.html)