Monday, December 21, 2009

Roasted Plum Tomato and Basil Soup

I think that this soup was one of the first soups that I made for Christmas Eve. It is simple and quick. Also it has the added bonus of providing those festive holiday colors of red and green. Nothing takes the edge off of a hectic day than a bowl of hot soup. You can garnish this soup with a crouton of French bread, and fresh basil or you can try my recipe for savory popcorn.

Roasted Plum Tomato and Basil Soup
Sevres 10
Yields 21/2 quarts
24 oz. Diced Plum tomatoes drained, juice reserved
2 oz. Olive oil
8 oz (2 small onions) small diced
4 oz. (2 ribs) celery small diced
1.5 quarts whole Milk or half and half
4 cloves garlic minced
2-3 tablespoons fresh basil (dried ½ to 1 tablespoon.) reserve the remaining fresh basil to use as a garnish.
1/8 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt

1) Place plum tomatoes on a baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes until visibly dry and slightly charred.
2) In a soup pot sauté onions, garlic and celery until translucent 3-4 minutes
3) Add milk or ½ & ½, juice from tomatoes and the roasted tomatoes to the pot and bring to a GENTLE one bubble boil. If you boil it to hard the soup will break.
4) Add basil, salt and pepper.

Soup will be thin at this point depending if you used milk or half and half. You can thicken the soup by removing some of the soup and putting it in a blender to puree or using an immerseable stick blender to puree it right in the pot. Make it as thick as you like. Also you can drizzle a bit of Extra Virgin olive oil on top for added flavor.

Parmesan Pepper Popcorn
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
About 8 cups hot plain popcorn
1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or any grating cheese (1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Drizzle oil over hot popcorn in a large bowl and toss to coat, then toss with cheese, pepper, and salt

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