cioppino with pasta
is a fish stew that originated in San Francisco, CA in the late 1800s within the Italian-American fishing community. When fishermen came home empty-handed, they went around the harbor with a pot and more successful neighbors donated what they could spare with the expectation that the favor would be returned if they were unsuccessful one day. Not surprisingly, cioppino is related to various regional fish soups and stews of Italian cuisine. The 2 most common ingredient is tomato sauce, not very surprising considering the Italian origin. The pasta is clearly optional. The seafood is as variable as the catch of the day.
I came to know this dish for the first time in 2017 when visiting Disneyworld's Mama Melrose's Italian restaurant in Hollywood Studios. Like so many Disneyworld restaurants, it was nice for ambience, but at the same time disappointing for the food.
My fist impression was WOW, what a seafood dish, but I downgraded that quickly when I realized that the seafood that I saw on top (4 mussels, 3 shrimp and a few calamari rings) was all there was and underneath was just a heap of pasta. I complained about it, but they still charged me $30+ for what was mostly a plate of spaghetti with a thin tomato sauce.
I went looking for bigger, better and cheaper afterwards. Even the latter wasn't too hard. Later that week I found an all-you-can eat seafood buffet less than a block from my hotel. I got my seafood fix there and it cost me less than Disney's spaghetti bowl.
And 2 years later, I finally made one myself. :-)
"Catch of the Day" means anything goes. It doesn't matter much what seafood you put in there, as long as it is abundant.