Saturday, July 26, 2008

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Back for the weekend from Asheville(1 more week to go!!) and the tomatoes are about to take the place. Madam has given away a lot but now friends are starting to hide when they see her coming. I made shrimp with cherry tomatoes and whole wheat linguine last night and it didn't make a dent. So today it is a big batch of tomato basil soup and Madam can eat it all week while I am gone. This recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten of the Food Network. I love what she does in the kitchen. No nonsense, just good food made from good ingredients. Her years as a caterer really taught her how to focus on getting the most from a recipe and her raw materials. This version of tomato basil soup with the roasted tomatoes is rich and has a depth that you won't get with just using canned or fresh tomatoes. It is definitely worth the little bit of extra effort.

Anyhow, here is what for dinner in the Monk's house tonight. This recipe calls for plum tomatoes but any ripe tomato will do as long as you don't skip the roasting part. I will put this together this afternoon after I go pick "more" tomatoes. Don't forget the crusty sour dough bread and a nice salad. I think a Pinot Grigio will be the wine.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp good olive oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (preferably Vidalia or Walla Walla)(about 2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice (try and find San Marzano tomatoes from Italy, a little more expensive but oh so good)
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 qt chicken stock or water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

copyright 1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

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