Don’t let the red hair and freckles fool you. I like the sun. Well, to be clear, I like warmth. That usually comes with the sunshine and I’m usually underneath a large umbrella smothered in major SPF sunscreen.
Does the fact that direct sunlight cannot touch my stark white complexion bother me?
Not one bit.
I love the beach. After all, I did grow up in California.
Speaking of which, we are headed there for the holidays. I couldn’t be happier. I hear it’s raining, but I am not concerned in the least. It’s freezing here! If you live here, you know what I mean. The ice scraper is now a daily tool. One has to jump up and down instead of standing still while outside (making it difficult to use the key in the lock). And, of course, socks are an absolute necessity at bedtime. This is not good for a newlywed. Why didn’t we get married earlier in the year?
I’m doing my best to keep the warmth flowing from the kitchen. That means lots of fresh breads and soups. This soup, in particular, is a good one. I post it also because my breeder readers can easily feed tomato soup to those picky little ones. At least, I hear this is the case with smaller humans. They like tomato soup.
You might be concerned about making soup from scratch. They make it so convenient at the grocery store. Those cans are nifty. They are so light. It takes minimal effort to lift a can of soup off the shelf and place it into your basket on a brisk afternoon.
I totally understand. When I’m in a pinch, I do precisely the same thing. This soup, however, will knock the socks off your frozen feet. It is so hearty. It will warm your insides. The best part is a fabulous piece of crusty bread actually immersed in your soup. Every bite combines the two best things in the world– bread and tomatoes.
Did I convince you? I hope so. Give it a shot. Stay warm. Eat soup. Get your rest. You need your strength for the visit with your family . . .
Tomato and Bread Soup with Basil
2 cans whole tomatoes (28 oz. each)
3 tblsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for dipping
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup packed and finely shredded fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp sugar
pinch of red pepper flakes
7 cups chicken stock, heated
1/4 cup Italian Arborio rice
4 slices country bread, about 1/2 thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Add 6 cups of stock, recover partially, and simmer until the rice is almost tender, 10-15 minutes longer. Remove one third of the soup from the pan. Fit a food mill with a fine blade over a bowl and ladle the removed soup into the mill and puree. (You can also use a food processor).
Return the puree to the pot, stir well, cover partially, and continue to barely simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the rice is tender, another 15 minutes or so. Add the remaining chicken stock if the soup seems too thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 325 degrees. Brush each bread slice on one side with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet, oiled side up. Place in the over until the bread is warm and slightly toasted.
To serve, place a warm slice of bread in each of the 4 bowls and ladle the hot soup over the bread. Garnish with the remaining basil.
Adapted from Williams Sonoma