On the rainy days that nothing can be done outside, I love nothing more than to curl up on the couch and watch T.V. And while I'm doing that...I want food...comfort food to be exact! Over the years I've found cook books that I love, celebrity chefs that I adore and watch their shows on The Food Network...and even managed to gather recipes from friends and family.
On a recent rainy day I went back to one of my favorite cook books, Nigella Kitchen. I simply adore her. She is unapologetic with her food and all of her recipes can be made by anyone! I honestly haven't made one thing from her cookbook that didn't turn out to be fantastic...and I truly give her all the credit for sharing these recipes.
I had my heart set on soup and grilled cheese sandwiches...so I dug through the cookbook and found just the right recipe. While the soup is her recipe, the grilled cheese is one I just threw together...I mean...if I can't make up a grilled cheese I should just order take out. And I guess I shouldn't call it a grilled cheese since I'm making it under the broiler! ;-)
Here's the recipe:
"Italian Tomato and Pasta Soup w/ Broiled Cheese and Turkey Sandwich
- 1 1/2 lbs of ripe tomatoes (I found three large, lovely ones!)
- Olive Oil
- 2 Cloves of Garlic, Peeled
- 1 Large Onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 1/2 quarts cold water
- Kosher Salt
- 2 Tsps Sugar
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Cup of Pasta (I used Ditalini....but elbow macaroni works or anything!)
- Sour Cream - Optional
- Fresh Chopped Parsley - Optional
- Bread, any kind...I used multi grain
- Cheese, shredded or sliced (whatever you have on hand works)
- Sliced Deli Meat (I used Turkey)
Here we go!
I love Miss Nigella, and this recipe is truly wonderful! I know you'll enjoy it! Here is what I needed to make the soup!
First take your tomatoes and score an X in the bottom of each with a knife. You don't have to cut very deep, just score the skins.
Place the tomatoes in a bowl and pour boiling water over them, completely cover. Let them sit in the water for about 5 minutes.
While the tomatoes are steeping, peel and finely chop 1 Large Onion. (I used Yellow, but use whatever you have on hand.)
Peel the garlic cloves by pushing on them with the flat side of your knife, then the peels should slip right off.
In a heavy pot, I used a small dutch oven, drizzle in about 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil, and heat the garlic cloves until they brown, over a Medium-High heat. Do NOT let them burn...watch them!
While the garlic is browning in the oil, remove the tomatoes from the hot water to a colander.
While they are cooling, remove the garlic cloves, they can be thrown away, they've done their job...which was releasing their garlic loveliness into the oil!
Once the garlic is out, toss in the onions and season with a little bit of Kosher Salt.
While the onions are cooking, peel the tomatoes. Because you scored the bottoms, the skins should slip right off.
Now chop the tomatoes, removing all the seeds and as much of the white membrane as you can.
Once the onions have cooked and started to turn translucent, add the tomatoes. Give them a good stir and season with a little more Kosher Salt.
Let the tomatoes and onions cook together for about 5 minutes or so. Then add 1 1/2 quarts of cold water (6 cups).
Season with a little bit more Kosher Salt and add the 2 teaspoons of sugar, and a few good grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine.
Bring the pan to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan, letting it cook for about 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes, pass the tomatoes, onions and broth through a food mill. If you don't have a food mill you can push them through a sieve or strainer. But you can get a food mill for about $30...and I promise you'll use it for EVERYTHING! :)
Once everything is passed through the food mill, bring it back up to a boil. At this point its going to look REALLY watery. Don't freak out like I did the first time! After adding the pasta it will thicken a bit. I promise!
Add the pasta and cook until its tender (follow the instructions on the pasta package).
While the pasta is boiling, turn on your broiler and place a sheet tray in the oven to heat it up.
Now it's time to get the sandwiches ready! Lay your bread out and spread butter on one side of each piece.
Now place the slices together, butter to butter (This will keep butter from getting onto your surface. Then cover the slice with cheese. (I'm using shredded cheese, but use whatever you have!)
Lay your meat on top of the cheese (if using), then put more cheese on top of that! Cheesy goodness!
Take the sheet tray out of the oven, it'll be hot...be careful! Place the slice of bread with all the cheese and meat on it down first, then put the other piece on top of it. Butter side out. Your pan should be hot so you should hear it sizzle a little bit. Put them under the broiler and check on them. Once the top is browned nicely, flip the sandwiches and brown the other side.
While the sandwiches are browning, chop up some fresh parsley if you are using it.
Once the sandwiches have browned, take them out, let them cool for just a minute or two, by doing this it lets the cheese "set" a little so it won't run out all over when you cut the sandwich. Dish up the soup, put a little bit of sour cream in the middle, sprinkle with the freshly chopped parsley then plate up! :)
Housewife Tip: With any soup like this, I like to drizzle just a little bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on top, and sprinkle it with some freshly ground black pepper. I just love the extra bit of flavor that it adds.
Every time I finish writing a food blog my mouth is watering! HAHA. This soup is so delicious, and I always forget how easy it is to make. I know that buying a can of tomato soup is quick and simple...but making this soup takes so little time. You will love how fresh this soup tastes, and remember, by making your own...you control the amount of salt that goes in it.
I hope you try out this recipe! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about it! :)
Until next time...Keep Cookin'!
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