This winter has been cold and wet and gray and dreary and everything opposite of a great southern summer....okay--so by cold I mean down to 50, and that's mostly been just this week as some storms pass through (it's currently 66 degrees outside) --but it looks cold and miserable outside so on my days off I've been hibernating, waiting for the first flakes to fall and whipping up batches of homemade soups(like last week's french onion).
My most recently culinary adventure has taken me down a nostalgic lane of condensed canned tomato soups on the coldest of New Jersey days. On really special weekends Dad would even make it with milk instead of water and we would cram our bowls to the brim with Ritz crackers. This Tuscan Tomato soup gives you a farm fresh feel with the inclusion of a generous portion of fresh basil and a sophisticated palate with freshly curled Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The addition of italian bread makes the soup hearty and rustic and if you eat it quietly in a dimly lit room you can imagine the views of an italian country side in the distance.
The recipe comes from Glamour's cookbook '100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know...' : Welcome to My Villa Tuscan Bread Soup-- (seriously, my mom got the book for me for Christmas and it has a slew of super basic recipes to build upon & is perfect for the beginner at home cook).
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
4 garlic cloves (grated)
28 oz can whole tomatoes chopped--juice reserved (okay, so I used diced tomatoes and it was just fine and saved me chopping wet tomatoes--I also added a fresh roma tomato and think next time I might use all fresh roma tomatoes in this dish)
3 cups chicken broth (I used low-sodium and it was perfect)
1/2 loaf of italian bread in 1" cubes
1 Tbsp sugar
1 c water
1/3 c thinly sliced basil
In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium high and add onion and garlic. Cook out until softened ~5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and reduce heat to medium low--simmer for 15 minutes. Add in the broth, bread, water, sugar, pinch of salt & pepper--stir together, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. If the soup is too thick and dense add an additional cup of water (I did!) Stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in white bowls for a dramatic affect and top bowls with cheese.
I have been up to a few other projects I hope to share with you soon and as Maid of Honor duties start coming in more regularly I'm sure I'll have some wedding related posts as well. As a major milestone, DOTS reached over 600 views and I am so excited and thankful that you are all reading about my (mostly kitchen) adventures.