I don't know what it's like where you are, but here in the Mississippi Valley it is unseasonably cold, I'm talking middle-of-winter cold. At a time when I should be pressing my face against the glass of the local garden center, I am, instead, wearing two sweaters and standing over a big pot stirring soup. Perusing seed catalogs offering a wide variety of Heirloom Tomatoes put me in a powerful mood for tomato soup, so Ina Garten to the rescue with this wonderful, easy, fresh tasting recipe. It's from her latest cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof,and can be steaming in a bowl in a little over 30 minutes. This is my new go-to tomato soup recipe, but it had a trifle too much orzo for me, so the next time, I'd cut the amount to 1/3 or a heaping 1/4 cup.
Easy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Croutons
From Foolproof by Ina Garten
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 cups homemade chicken stock
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Large pinch of saffron threads
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup orzo
1/2 cup heavy cream
Grilled Cheese Croutons to garnish
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes, saffron, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a medium pot with water, add 2 teaspoons salt, and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for 7 minutes. (It will finish cooking in the soup.) Drain the orzo and add it to the soup. Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer, and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.
Serve hot with Grilled Cheese Croutons scattered on top.