If you add the word Tuscan to anything you try to sell me, you got me! I’m a sucker for all things representing the beauty, purity and naturalness that is Italy.
That’s why when we found this recipe for Tuscan Tomato Soup courtesy of Rancho La Puerta, I had to give it a shot. Now I know I said I prefer chunky goodness when it comes to soup, and it was a bit painful to watch beautifully colored, perfectly good roasted tomatoes, potatoes, celery and onions get pureed into oblivion. But in the end, it was worth it.
We rubbed six tomatoes with olive oil as instructed, using a melon baller to remove the stems (works like a charm) and then popped them into the oven. We did all of our choppin’, using a heaping teaspoon of pre-minced garlic. We only chopped between a cup and a cup and a half of basil (we didn’t have enough handy), but added some dried basil to taste. Same with the mint (Who’s counting?).
Then we began to saute the celery, onions and garlic in a large pot with olive oil. The tomatoes will be nice and roasted after 20 minutes. They look amazing.
After letting them sit in the pot for a few minutes, we mushed them up. We did not have a potato masher, so if you prefer, or if it is THAT kind of night, use the bottom of a wine bottle like we did! You don’t need apply much pressure because they’re so mushy already from the roasting, but it does take a little more time. Improvisation, people.
Throw in the rest of the ingredients. The smaller you cut the potatoes, the faster they will cook. Add a heaping spoonful of brown sugar. I don’t know about you, but marinara/tomato sauces taste better with a little sweetness.
Cover and simmer for close to 40 minutes, instead of cooking on a higher temp uncovered for 20 minutes. I just can’t help it. I like to trap all the flavors inside the pot. It’s GOTTA taste better that way right? Everything is better slow-cooked.
After you’ve simmered or cooked your way to soft potato perfection, then let it stand for 20 minutes because you’ll need to dump it all in the food processor next. Puree it your liking and disregard running it through a strainer if you don’t mind tiny chunks. We added cayenne pepper (to taste of course) for a little kick but be careful when adding peppers to hot soups because every bit is more intense.
This is not the quickest soup recipe I’ve ever made, but with a little basil garnish, it was pretty AND yummy! Perfect for a cool spring night when you need to do some entertaining while you cook.