Lazy-guy cioppino

I’d bought Trader Joe’s prepared, frozen Cioppino — a delightful treat for two.

Then we discovered Erik was coming for dinner. Now what?

First, check the sauce in TJ’s package. How much? Yeah, enough for two, not enough for three, or four, considering that Erik is in his 20s and still can eat like a teenager, especially when the grub’s good, really good.

Eyeball the mixed seafood: shrimp, scallops, whitefish, calamari . . . okay for two, not for three and a half.

Look in the closet. Aha! A 12-ounce can of Thai whole baby clams in their juice. Perfetto! I’d wondered when I’d get to use those.

But not enough sauce. Rummage through the “whatever” section of the fridge for one or more unused packages of pizza sauce — saved from when I make my own, for the pizza rounds Judy sometimes finds in the “second-day” stores. Yes! There’s one! It’s perfect because it’s so zesty and concentrated.

Into the saucepan go the Trader Joe’s frozen ingredients. 

Then the Boboli sauce (it could be any pizza or spaghetti sauce, eight ounces or so) and the baby clams with all their juice.

Then a half-bottle of inexpensive dry vermouth, and a teaspoon of Tabasco original sauce.

It seems like it needs something else? How about a scant quarter-cup of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter? Si, perfetto encora!

Um, um, um, as Lidia Bastiani says of everthing coming off her stove on PBS. “Any more?” Erik asks, and yes, there is some more. He likes it! Me too. But there’s no more. Until next time.