|Safeway Tuscan Tomato & Basil Soup|
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do:
3/4 cup of dry tiny star pasta
1T olive oil
1 T butter
1 large carrot, chopped
1 celery stock, chopped
1 med onion finely chopped
1 can tomato sauce
1 can Italian style diced tomatoes
2 - 3 cups chicken broth
dash of cayenne pepper
dash of white pepper
additional fresh basil leaves (optional)
1. Melt butter with olive oil over med heat, once foamy, add carrot, celery and onion. Cook on med. heat for 5-7 min. stirring often, until soft. (Don't brown the veggies).
2. Empty Italian Style diced tomatoes into a bowl. Using a cuisinart or blending wand, break down the size of the tomatoes until they are just slightly chunky. This is to your preference. We like a little bit of tomato texture in the soup.
3. Add both the tomato sauce, the slightly pureed Italian tomatoes and approx 2 cups of chicken broth. Stir soup, turn heat to low, cover partially and let simmer for 45 min. Check and stir every 15 min. or so.
4. In a separate small pot, bring water to boil. Once boiling, add some salt and the tiny star pastas. Cook the pastas for 3 min. Drain and set aside. You are trying to slightly undercook the pasta stars.
5. Turn heat off under the soup. Add dash(es) of cayenne and white pepper according to taste. You may also want to add more broth at this point too.
6. Let the soup cool for approx. 20 min. We are letting the soup cool so that when we add the cream and half-n-half, they won't curdle when met with the piping hot soup. (I have learned this the hard way, many pots of curdly looking soup).
7. Once the soup is cool, ladle some of the soup into a bowl. Add 1/4 cup of cream and 1/4 cup of half-n-half. Stir this mixture and then add to pot of soup. (Sounds like an unnecessary step, but it's worthwhile. Goal is to slowly introduce cream products to the soup without curdling). Also, you can adjust amounts of cream/half-n-half to your taste.
8. Finally add your pasta stars and turn heat to low on a low burner.
Enjoy with crunchy bread or soft, chewy grilled cheese sandwiches.
Let me know if you try it and how it tasted!