Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tomato Ditalini Soup



My soup recipe collection has really grown as of late. We love homemade soup all year long, especially in the winter. The weather here has been a roller coaster this year...we go from spring-like temperatures to Arctic cold overnight.  As a rule, during the winter, I make at least one batch of homemade soup once a week....sometimes more.  I love soups loaded with vegetables and a hearty broth. Bob loves them with some kind of protein....see, he's a "Where's the meat? kind of guy.

I have quite a collection of specialty cooking magazines here, and a good number of them pertain to soups. While browsing through them to look for some new ideas, I came across this recipe with a very tempting photograph alongside. I've made tomato based soups like Minestrone before, but hadn't made one that had tomatoes as the "star" of the soup. As many magazines as I looked through, I kept going back to this recipe and photo. That was a signal to me to give it a try.

The recipe goes together in no time at all. I stayed pretty true to the original, adding some Italian seasoning to the broth for another level of flavor.  I also used my homemade chicken stock instead of canned broth.  If you want to keep this totally vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

When the pasta was done cooking and I looked at what I had for a finished product in the pan, I wasn't happy.  It was too "watery"...and in tasting it, it didn't have the tomato punch I wanted. Solution?  Tomato paste-a couple rounded tablespoons stirred into the hot broth at the end was all that soup needed to give me the depth of tomato flavor I was looking for.  It added just the right richness and slight thickness to the broth.  PERFECT!  I tasted one last time, adjusted the seasoning, and I was happy.

The soup sat overnight in the refrigerator waiting for lunch the next day. Once heated through, a sprinkle of parsley and shredded cheese is all that was needed.

One spoonful was all it took to know I had a winner.  The tomato and herb flavor was even fuller the next day, with a nice background of onion, garlic and a touch of celery. The ditalini adds just enough bulk to make the soup filling-which made Bob happy. He didn't even say "It would be better with some chicken..."-that's always a good sign!

Seeing those diced tomatoes made me feel like I was eating soup made with tomatoes from my garden, which makes me think summertime-and on a cold winter day, that's a VERY pleasant thought.

Not only is this soup easy, it's a great one to make just before grocery shopping.  It uses ingredients I always have in the cupboard and refrigerator.  If I didn't have celery in the crisper drawer, I'd omit it and add more onion...or maybe a couple of finely diced carrots. No diced tomatoes? Use canned whole tomatoes cut into pieces. That's what I love about recipes like this. They're so versatile and can adapt to whatever ingredients you have on hand.

This recipe is in my regular rotation-not only is it quick and easy, it's one super delicious tomato soup.


Carol

TOMATO DITALINI SOUP
(Source: adapted from Cuisine Splendid Soups and Stews magazine)

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. finely diced onion
1/2 c. finely diced celery
2 cloves garlic, finely minced, then "pasted"
2 (14 1/2 oz. each) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
4 c. homemade chicken stock OR low sodium chicken broth (vegetable broth can be substituted)
1 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 c. ditalini OR orzo pasta
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 heaping Tbsp. tomato paste
Chopped fresh parsley
Shredded Romano OR Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, Italian seasoning and ditalini.  Bring the soup to a boil.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, about 10-12 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the tomato paste and stir until it dissolves into the broth and the soup is slightly thickened. If you like a thicker soup, add more tomato paste, then adjust the seasonings to taste. The heaping 2 Tbsp. was the perfect consistency for us.

Serve the soup garnished with chopped fresh parsley and a sprinkling of shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese.  4 servings.

NOTE:  Sometimes the pasta can "drink" up the broth in soup when it sits in the refrigerator overnight.  I fix that by adding a touch more broth when I heat it up or in this soup, a glug or so of V-8 juice works great if I have it on hand.

25 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for the pin, Leigh-I hope you like the soup!

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  2. Oh Boy, this is one I am going to copy out right now and make for sure. I am a very picky eater, not many things I will eat, or even try. This one has all the ingredients that I like, and tomato soup is a big favorite of mine. Thank you Carol, I will buy the pasta when I go food shopping and make this real soon. I always keep cans of diced tomatoes in the house, so now I have something to make with them. YUMMY !!!

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    1. That's what I love about this one Myra-simple ingredients most of us have on hand all the time. You can use whatever small pasta you have on hand-doesn't have to be the ditalini. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

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  3. This looks really yummy!! Thanks for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop & Link Party!

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  4. The soup looks so tasty. Thank you for sharing it on SYC. Jo

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    1. It's really good Jo-and easy too! :)

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  5. Yum - that looks amazing!! Pinning this to try!

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  6. I think I have all the ingredients for this except the Pasta. I will get that also . Can't wait to try this Carol.Thank you for posting this.

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    1. You're welcome Dottiemaye-I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. :)

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  7. Carol, I am all set to make this tomorrow. Bought the pasta and the tomato paste. It will hit the spot on the freezing weekend we are going to have. Thanks again for sharing.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, Myra. Perfect for the super cold weekend we're both going to have. I'll be experimenting with a batch of beef barley soup in the pressure cooker for dinner tonight.

      Stay warm!

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    2. It is great Carol. I just loved it. It is a keeper, and I will be making it again. I added the tomato paste tho I put a bit more than 2 tablespoons. Next time I won't use as much. Let me know how that beef barley soup comes out. I don't have a pressure cooker tho. I love barley and farro. Both of these grains are a big favorite of mine. Thanks again for the great recipe.

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  8. Your soup looks fantastic! Hope you have a very special Valentine Day and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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    1. Thank you Miz Helen, and a Happy Valentine's Day to you too!

      Carol

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  9. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop

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    1. Hope you enjoy it if you give it a try. :)

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  10. Oh yum! I have got to try this. Looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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  11. The soup looks delicious, but I'm in love with the dishes you served it in. My husband prefers solid colored dishes for his gourmet creations, but I think I can get away with checks. Now I have to go shopping!

    Thanks for Sharing Your Cup!

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    1. Thanks so much-my daughter bought me that set of dishes umpty-nine years ago! They have a basket of apples in the center-bet you never guessed that huh? :)

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  12. What a great soup...especially if your still stuck in the cold! :-) Thanks for Sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday!! Hope to see you again tomorrow!! Pinned!

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    1. Thanks Elaine-it sure is a good stuck in the deep freeze soup! :)

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