Sunday, August 7, 2011

Roasted Tomato Soup [Rhonda]

Degree of difficulty: easy
Time: 13 minutes 12 seconds to prep, 1 hour total cooking time
Serves: 8 to 10

As an occasional perk for working in the Palette, the Columbus Museum of Art’s restaurant, we volunteers were treated to cooking classes given by the two Palette chefs at the time, Michael and David. This recipe was demonstrated at a board member’s lavish home in Powell, Ohio, which held a beautiful, enormously spacious and well-equipped kitchen. (I’ll admit it. I contract kitchen envy easily…)

Best part of Roasted Tomato Soup? You get to be a sloppy cook. It’s a whack-chop-splash type of beginning for this amazing soup, as the fresh Roma tomatoes, tons of garlic cloves, and slivers of wayward onion flipping this way and that, get roasted for a bit. And after just a scant few minutes under the heat, things start to smell…sensational.

Make a big batch while you’re at it, with all the summer produce so fresh and plentiful, and freeze some. How many times have I slid open our freezer at 7:45 on a Wednesday night, looking for something — anything — to thaw and serve? And then...bonus! There’s a nice Tupperware container of Roasted Tomato Soup.

Add some homemade croutons, a quick grating of Parmigiano Reggiano, a crisp salad, some yeasty bread from your nearest bakery (or be really smart and use Zack’s Artisan Bread recipe on this blog), and you’re good to go.

Roasted Tomato Soup


4 pounds (at least) of Roma tomatoes, chopped
3 large chopped yellow onions
1 bulb of garlic, cloves peeled but left whole
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 large can (49 ½ ounces) chicken stock
1 stalk celery, chopped (leaves removed)
Splash of tomato juice
Splash of white wine (1 cup, maybe?)
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 to 2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Splash of heavy cream (1/2 cup)
1 cup chopped fresh basil

Toss together Roma tomatoes, onions, and garlic cloves with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast at 350 F for 30 to 45 minutes.

Combine the stock, celery, tomato juice, and white wine in a large stock pot. Add the Roma tomato mixture, onion powder, paprika. Bring to a boil, then simmer about 30 to 40 minutes. Puree in food processor.

Add basil, cheese, and heavy cream and adjust consistency and seasoning.

Note: I’ve played extensively with this recipe, omitting the celery if I didn’t have it on hand, upping the onion and garlic content, or throwing in a handful of frozen homemade chicken stock cubes as the soup was cooking. It’s still nice even if you can’t find fresh basil. I’ve used lots more tomatoes to get a thicker soup, and once added a bit of roux (butter, flour, milk mixture) to thicken it. Also, a scoop or two of leftover mashed potatoes, provided you haven’t added all kinds of weird spices to them, will add heft to the soup.

Suggested soundtrack: Bach’s Partita No. 3 in E Major

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