Thursday, September 16, 2010

Souper Zuppa (thanks to Catherine Fulvio)

I have been roundly chastised by my VBF Freak for being remiss in my blogging duties of late.  To be fair, I was on my holidays in the lovely France and I managed to write two posts when I was there... and I've enough material from the trip to make another 10 posts!

The day before we set sail, I got a lovely present in the post - Catherine Fulvio's new book Catherine's Italian Kitchen and I decided to bring her on holidays with me - I should have really titled this "How I Kidnapped Catherine & Brought Her To France" but that might have attracted the wrong type of attention!  While in the splendour of our teeny tiny mobile home kitchenette, I did make her  Tomato Fettunta which is a very delicious bruschetta, using the fantastic tomatoes from the local supermarket.  French supermarkets put us to shame with the range and variety of fresh produce they have - wandering around them is one of my favourite things to do on holiday, figuring out what we're going to eat that day for lunch & dinner.

Anyway, back from my holiday tangent, I was given a huge bagful of tomatoes from my parents garden the other day & I decided to make Catherine's Zuppa Di Pomodoro.  I hated tomato soup when I was a kid and refused point blank to ever let a spoonful of the nasty tinned stuff past my lips.  And then I grew up & discovered the joys of fresh tomato soup...

The recipe is unfailingly simple, but as usual I was missing a vital ingredient - the ciabatta.  So I substituted a large white onion instead and it worked out just fine!

The recipe is written in a really clear and easy to understand way, so I had no problem following it (while watching TV on the laptop propped on the draining rack!).

I cored & scored my tomatoes and then dropped them into a pot of boiling water for a minute to loosen the skins.  Then I transferred them to a bowl of cold water so the skins would slip off.  Then it was just a matter of chopping them & squeezing out the seeds into a bowl.

Then I heated 2 tbsp of olive oil in my largest pot, added the finely chopped onion & 3 chopped cloves of garlic and sauteed them on a very gentle heat until they softened & were translucent.  Then it was tomato time - I added them to the pot, along with a small bunch of torn basil leaves & 2 sprigs of thyme.

I seasoned the tomatoes with salt, pepper & sugar and let it simmer for 30 minutes until it looked like this

I then added a litre of chicken stock & let it simmer for 5 minutes and then gave it a blast of my stick blender so it was nice & smooth, and checked the seasoning - just another dash of sugar!

Doesn't it look lovely with the little basil leaf floating on top?

And an empty cup means a happy cook!

Now I have to give the recipe to my Mum so she can use up her share of the glut of tomatoes...