I've been making this soup from Ina's latest cookbook Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust for a while now, and every time I do, it's a huge hit. I'll never forget the first time I made it. I followed her recipe exactly, topping each bowl with the adorable grilled cheese "croutons" she makes to go with it. I wish I had taken a picture of Sam and Jack staring at their bowls. Finally Sam asked, "Babe, this looks amazing, but where's my sandwich?" and Jack spent the next ten minutes trying to fish them out with his fingers. Needless to say, we are not a grilled cheese crouton house. Lesson learned. Now I serve this up in bowls with a big platter of sandwich halves in the middle of the table and everyone's happy.
|grilled cheese croutons. never again.|
Ina's Easy Tomato Soup
*Note: Out of sheer laziness, I've tried to skip the step of cooking the orzo separate and just add it to the soup. This never works out, and always results in haphazardly cooked pasta- some crunchy, some complete mush. If you think it's your lucky night, go ahead and try it and be sure to tell me exactly what you did. I'm not sure what it is, but some nights I read the step to get out an extra pan to boil water and equate it to being ordered outside to run a mile. Ridiculous, I know. And the spinach is my addition. Great way to "sneak" in some cancer fighting greens.
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 cups chicken stock
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup orzo (or other tiny pasta shape)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2-3 handfuls of fresh, chopped spinach (optional)
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring every now and then until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a medium pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for 7 minutes. (It will finish cooking in the soup.) Drain the orzo and add it to the soup. Stir in the cream and spinach, return the soup to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.
*Like most any soup, this can be made a few days in advance. You could make it on the weekend, cool it down a bit, and stash it away in the fridge. Tuesday night dinner now consists of making grilled cheese sandwiches and reheating a pot of delicious, homemade soup. Just a suggestion.