Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tuscan Tomato Soup

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I have several books on soups in my cookbook library, but
I love the photos and the broad selection of soups in the Williams-Sonoma Soup cookbook. I wanted a quick and easy soup to make for Soup, Glorious Soup hosted by Alanna of Veggie Venture as the deadline is February 28, 2007.

There was a great looking Tuscan Tomato Soup in the Soup cookbook that I was eager to try, but the recipe called for fresh tomatoes which are almost impossible to find in the wintertime-it was definitely a summer soup crying for dead ripe tomatoes and fresh basil. A quick look in my overflowing pantry gave me a brilliant idea-why not use the bottled pasta sauce as a substitute? Trader Giotto's(Trader Joe's)Rustico Pomodoro Pasta Sauce is made from imported Italian plum tomatoes, mushrooms, green and red peppers and white wine.I bought this sauce in Atlanta recently where the store is the current rage in new supermarkets in the Atlanta area. I had broth, onions, garlic, French bread and Parmesan cheese, but alas, no fresh basil! My grocer will have the basil tomorrow which is usually happens when you only need one item, but did have fresh oregano. So here is a very different Tuscan Tomato Soup.


Tuscan Tomato Soup


6-8 slices French bread, 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 24 ounce bottle Rustico Pomodoro Pasta Sauce, or your favorite brand
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable stock
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh oregano leaves, plus 6-8 whole leaves for garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the bread on the baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, turning once,about 10-15 minutes. Set aside while making the soup.

In a large soup pot, warm the oil. Add the onion and saute, stirring frequently, until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, taking care not to brown.

Add the Rustico Pomodoro Pasta sauce, diced tomatoes and stock, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook about 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove bay leaf.

Using a hand blender, pure the soup in batches, leaving just a bit of texture. Return to medium and reheat gently. Add the chopped oregano and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, place a slice of toasted bread in the bottom of each warmed bowl and sprinkle with a spoonful of Parmesan cheese. Ladle the soup on top and garnich with an oregano leaf. Serve immediately.



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