Friday, March 18, 2011

Rainy Day Goodness

This is comfort in a bowl!  I thought I would share with you a fantastic recipe for tomato soup.  I know it's not glamorous, but it is solid, dependable and immensely adaptable.  Here in Northern California we have had a bit of a rainy spell.  This soup seemed perfect for today.  I use the base recipe to start and then I went from there.  I sometimes add in shredded cheddar cheese or maybe some mascarpone if I have it in the fridge.  Since we are in Lent right now I used a vegetarian broth base, but I have also used chicken broth, whatever is in the pantry will work.  On a non Lent Friday, I would also add in some crispy pancetta to the top.  Use your imagination, the skies the limit.

Tomato Soup (adapted from Tyler Florence)

2 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 scant cup of extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 quart of vegetable or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons of butter
2 teaspoons dried basil
Optional add in's:  3/4 cup cream or  1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, or 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, crispy pancetta crumbles

Heat olive oil in a stock pot.  Add onions and saute until beginning to lightly brown.  Add chopped garlic and cook an additional minute.  Add the tomatoes, 3/4 of the stock, basil, bay leaves, and butter.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.  Return soup to low heat, add cream or cheese and adjust consistency with remaining stock.  Season to taste.

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