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One Tomato Soup, Three Ways

Photograph by The Naptime Chef

With the mercury gently falling, and the leaves swapping green for autumnal hues, it is clear that hot soup season has arrived. It is time to bid farewell to cups of chilled gazpacho and garden vegetables pureed with herbs. Now is the season for large pots of richly flavored broths to slowly simmer away on the stove for long, leisurely afternoons. Meals can now be centered on piping hot bowls of hearty soups and stews that are so hot they’ll warm you up to your very core.

Since soup season lasts several months, it is always good to have a few basics in your repertoire. Start with a few good base soup recipes like chicken, vegetable and tomato, and build your own unique soup recipes from there.

I’ll be sharing my favorite soup bases and how I work with them over time. Today we are starting with tomato, since I am still making this with the last of the harvested tomatoes from our garden. I am a little astonished that the tomato plant is continuing to yield so much fruit! But it is, so I am playing along and enjoying the bounty.

If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, I’ve included that easy way you can make these with store-bought tomatoes. It makes no difference to me what you use. Here is how you make it:

RECIPE: Classic Tomato Soup

Yields 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes with juices, OR 4 cups peeled fresh Roma tomatoes, crushed

Directions

  1. Warm the olive oil in a heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. While stirring, add the white wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the wine is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Carefully pour in the stock and crushed tomatoes. Bring the soup to a simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. After this point your base soup is ready. Consider adding your spinach, basil, or tortellini (or all three), and enjoy. Serve warm.

Adaptations:

Photograph by The Naptime Chef

Adaptation No. 1: Spinach & Basil: For a little extra flavor and some greens, add chopped spinach and basil to your soup. The rule of thumb for this recipe is 2 large handfuls of baby spinach (stems removed and coarsely chopped), and 8 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped. Stir them into the hot soup and simmer for 10 minutes, or until they are completely wilted and softened.

Photograph by The Naptime Chef

Adaptation No. 2: Cheese Tortellini: For pasta lovers, add 10 ounces of fresh cheese tortellini and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the tortellini is cooked through and rises to the top. Note, ravioli or any small pasta would work well in this, too.

Recipe via The Naptime Chef

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