Cream of Tomato Soup

Some people hit the bottle during stressful times. I, on the other hand, hit the stock pot.

Soup, for me, is the culinary equivalent of being talked off the ledge. I think it’s the truest form of comfort food and – even if (God forbid!) it’s out of a can – it has always had the mysterious ability to calm me.

Usually when Italians eat tomato soup, it’s a simple “minestrina” made by adding tomato, basil, olive oil and salt to a pot of partially drained pastina. This version couldn’t be more different. I wish I had asked Mom where she got this recipe, but it never occurred to me, it was just always there. This recipe was one of my earliest recollections of her cooking and fittingly, I suppose, it was the last thing she and I ever made together.

Anyway… try this, it rocks. And given that tomatoes are native to America, it would make for a terrific first course for Thanksgiving.

Ingredients

4 ribs celery, washed and diced
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons flour
2-28 oz cans San Marzano tomatoes, pureed
8 cups beef broth
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup light cream
salt and white pepper, to taste

Optional:
Chopped basil leaves, for garnish
Arborio rice, al dente
or
Pastina, al dente
Prep:
In a large stockpot, celery and onions in the olive oil, over medium low heat, until translucent – about 20 minutes.
Add flour and saute another two minutes.
Add broth and tomatoes, stir and bring mixture to a boil.
Lower heat to medium and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Run mixture through a fine sieve and transfer back into the stock pot
Reheat, add cream and salt and pepper to taste.
You can serve as is as an appetizer, but if you want to make more of a meal out of it, serve it embellished with plenty of al dente arborio rice or pastina in the shape of your choice. Be sure to keep the pasta or rice separate from the soup until just before serving.