I’m definitely looking forward to the day when I stop working – if I ever stop working. I like the idea of keeling over in my tomato vines in Sardinia or northern Italy.
Call it meatless Monday if you want to, but tonight is simply a late dinner night and with a basket full of plum tomatoes and a cheese drawer full of cheese it seemed like a good dinner for what sounds like a rainy night. Simple grilled crostini topped with melted parmesan will serve as the open-faced grilled cheese “crouton” and a small wheel of Camembert cheese with cranberry chutney a nice side for the soup.
My simple recipe takes about 2 hours, but I managed to clean out under the kitchen sink while the tomatoes roasted for 40 or so minutes. After roasting the tomatoes and garlic, I flipped on self clean to the oven and opened the windows for several hours because we are having a wonderful mid 60º’s kind of day. So I did get something accomplished for what is normally a totally waste of a day in my world and to think that I even had time to do a little knitting is amazing for me on a Monday!
3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise ( Sam’s Club has a 3 pound box that I allow to ripen for a few days)
1/3 cup good olive oil (1/4 for the roasted tomatoes and the rest to sauce the veggies)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 medium onion, roasted or not
1 rib of celery, diced
6 roasted garlic cloves, (roast in a foil packet while roasting the tomatoes)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 (28-ounce) canned Italian plum tomatoes,
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 small sprigs of lemon thyme or regular
pinches of red pepper flakes
pepper to taste, sprinkle over tomatoes they have finished roasting
8-9 fresh basil leaves
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 350º. Toss the tomatoes into a bowl and drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil over and sprinkle them with salt, gently toss. Spread the tomatoes out on a lightly oiled baking sheet and roast for 35 – 45 minutes.
In a stockpot over medium low heat, sauté the onions, celery and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 5 minutes, until the onions soften a bit. Add bay leaf, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Finally toss in the canned tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 45-50 minutes. I used a stick blender to break up the tomatoes before passing them through a food mill to remove any seeds or bits of tomatoes skins. Taste for seasonings and add the paprika. Serve hot or cold. Some may choose to add a bit of heavy cream for more of a “Campbell’s soup” experience.
Garnish with grilled crostini with melted parmesan and since I had some olive oil leftover from crispy fried peppers, I put just a touch in my bowl.
Crostini ready for a quick broil…