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If you saw my last blog post, I talked about my Food Blogger group getting together for a holiday cookie exchange. What I didn’t talk about was the “kitchen swap.” We all brought in stuff from our kitchen that we didn’t want or use…or that we were tired of. From cookbooks to spatulas, it was all there, including a huge stack of La Cucina Italia magazines from 4 and 5 years ago.
I LOVE magazines about cooking, especially from Italy and France. Mostly because I LOVE Italy and France-the scenery, the history and of course, the food! I grabbed about 6 of them that appealed to me.
The next day, after coming down from the sugar high of the amazing holiday cookies, I sat down to go through them and cut out quite a few recipes that I thought I’d try in the new year. One of my intentions for this year is to cook more NEW things. I will do my best to share the ones I think are worthwhile.
To start, I chose this interesting soup combo because it’s cold outside. Freezing, in fact, in many areas of the country. I just spoke to someone in Syracuse and she said it was “warming up to a balmy -1oF. Ooh. Get out the short and flip-flops! I remember that weather from when I lived in Colorado. Brrrr.
This dish takes a bit of work, and it’s worth it. The tastes are simple and work really well together. If I were you, I’d double the recipe and perhaps use it for company. You can also save a ton of time using canned tomatoes, but it won’t taste the same. Fresh is always best. The original recipe called for the tomatoes in the soup to be chopped small. I chose to puree them. I thought they looked better in the plate that way.
After making it, I realize I should have made this right before Christmas, as the colors are red and green. Then I thought, “Wait! I’m Jewish, and these aren’t Chanukah colors!”
Hmmm. Anyone have a recipe for a blue and white soup that will last eight days?
Tomato Soup and Spicy Zucchini Puree
- Zucchini Puree:
- 1/4 C Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound zucchini, cut into 1/4" thick slices
- Fine sea salt or kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/4 C finely chopped onion
- 1 tbsp finely chopped oregano
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- Tomato Soup:
- 4 Campari or cherry tomatoes, stemmed and cut in half
- 2 1/2 tbsps Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes
- 1/4 C finely chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove, finely diced
- 1/4 C low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 5 medium basil leaves
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Parchment paper
FOR ZUCCHINI PUREE:
- In a large wide pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat: add zucchini, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a generous amount of pepper, stirring to combine.
- Reduce heat to low: cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender. Take care not to brown. About 35-40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat: add onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, oregano and red pepper flakes, stirring to combine.
- Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender a sweet (again, do not brown), about 35 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the tomato soup.
FOR TOMATO SOUP:
- Heat oven (I used my toaster oven for this!) to 400 with rack in the middle.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to boil.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Arrange Campari tomatoes, cut side up on prepared baking sheet: drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Set aside.
- Set a mesh sieve over a bowl.
- Boil plum tomatoes for 30 seconds, then drain.
- Peel tomatoes, then cut in half.
- Over sieve, seed tomatoes, collecting juices in bowl: discard seeds.
- Cut tomatoes into 1/2 inch pieces.
- In a medium saucepan, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat: add onion, reduce heat to lowest setting and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly golden. About 15 minutes.
- Add garlic, cook about 10 minutes more.
- Add tomatoes and their juices, broth, basil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally until flavors have melded well, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, roast Campari tomatoes on middle rack until softened and slightly collapsed, about 18 minutes.
- Remove tomato soup from heat and set aside for about 10 minutes. Then, puree, if desired, in a blender. Pour out puree in medium pot to reheat.
- Wash blender and place onion mixture, zucchini and 1 cup of water in it. Puree to form a very thick soup. Return soup to pot to reheat.
- Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Serve soups together in a wide shallow bowl. arranging from opposite sides of each bowl a scant 3/4 C zucchini puree first, then 1/2 C tomato puree. Soups will stay separate. Garnish with tomatoes.
- Opt: Drag a toothpick in a swirl pattern in the center to combine the colors. Serve with shaved cheese if desired.