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Author Notes: take a dish that is already a family favourite and turn it into a soup, and the result provides all the usual comfort and warmth multiplied!
inspired by mark bittman's 'wintertime tomato soup', roasting the canned whole tomatoes deepens their tomato flavour, bringing out those tomato tones that evoke summertime for those of us that are missing them during these harsh winter months!
buon appetito! —thefood
FOR THE SOUP
- 2 28 ounce cans whole tomatoes (san marzano preferred)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 large red onion
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or grated
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano (or 1/2 tablespoon fresh, minced)
- 1/2 tablespoon red chili flakes (or less, if you can't stand the heat)
- 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 7 cups chicken brother (or other broth, or water - in a pinch)
- 2 large sprigs fresh basil, leaves removed & finel slices
- salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Drain whole tomatoes, reserving the liquid. Remove whole tomatoes from can, scraping seeds from each and squishing them so they can spread open and lay flat(ish) and place onto roasting pan. Roast, turning a few times to allow the brown bits to be scraped from the pan, watching carefully that they don't burn. This process can take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the amount of liquid in your tomatoes. The end result should have no liquid left in the pan, and the tomatoes should be shrivelled up, with browned parts throughout.
- Place olive oil, roasted whole tomatoes, sliced garlic, oregano, fennel seeds, chilli flakes, and diced onions into large dutch oven or stock pot and saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onions are transparent.
- Use immersion blender to blend soup to incorporate onions and garlic (Note: This step is optional, if you don't have access to immersion blender. You can either blend in a standard blender, or mush mixture with a spoon to get the tomatoes as broken down as possible. This will just result in a chunkier soup overall - no biggie!)
- Add crushed tomatoes, reserved whole tomatoe juice (strained of seeds if you prefer), fresh basil and stock and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or so, stirring frequently.
- Season with salt and allow to simmer while you make the meatballs.
FOR THE MEATBALLS (and to complete the soup)
- 2 pounds lean ground pork (or beef, chicken, etc - but i find the pork most moist)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
- 1/4 large red onion, finely minced or grated
- 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (to be used in pan)
- Cooked Spaghetti (For Serving)
- Grated Good Parmesan
- In a large bowl, place all ingredients except olive oil, and mix with your hands until well incorporated.
- Pinch off about 1 teaspoon of pork mixture and roll into meatballs + set aside. You want these to be pretty tiny, as they need to fit onto a soup spoon for easy eating. Continue until you use up all of the pork mixture.
- Heat olive oil in large cast iron or frying pan over medium-high heat. Test oil with one of your meatballs to ensure it is heated enough that the meatball sizzles when it hits the oil.
- Leaving about 1/2 inch space between each, place as many meatballs as you can into pan. Allow each meatball to brown on one side, then flip over to at least one other side so it keeps its shape well. Once meatballs are seared, drop into the soup to finish cooking. Continue until all meatballs are done.
- Allow soup to simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
- Test one of the meatballs by removing it from the soup and cutting it in half to ensure it is cooked through.
- To serve, ladel soup (don't forget to make sure there's a good portion of meatballs!) over bowls prepared with a serving of pre-cooked spaghetti noodles + a sprinkle of good paremsan cheese. Buon appetito!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Noodle Soups
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