Friday, January 11, 2013

Tomato Noodle Soup

I adore tomato soup. It's one of my favorites. I love it pureed and smooth, I love it with chunky bits of tomato, I love it with cream, and I love it with rice or noodles. I don't think I've met a tomato soup I didn't like.

This soup is vegetarian, and it would be easy to make it vegan by substituting oil for the butter and using egg-free noodles or rice. And, of course, you wouldn't use blue cheese as a garnish.

Kluski noodles, if you're not familiar with them, are a rustic-looking egg noodle. They have a rough surface rather than a smooth one. If the butter seems a bit excessive, keep in mind that the butter is the only fat in this soup. Per serving, you're not getting much butter. But, if you like, you could cut back on it.

This soup reheats well, although the noodles will absorb some of the soup as it sits. To thin it out, just add more water to get it to the consistency you like..

As a kid, I always liked my tomato soup with a side of crackers, usually with a little butter. Or, if there was any around, maybe just a little cream cheese. Blue cheese made a perfect accompaniment this time. If you like, you could simply crumble some cheese on top, or serve it on crackers on the side. I thought it made a nice presentation with a cracker raft floating on the soup.

I used a Point Reyes blue cheese, but choose your favorite.

Tomato Noodle Soup

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 carrots
2 ribs celery
1 onion
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 can (28 ounces) water
Several grinds black pepper
6 ounces (this was 1/2 bag) kluski noodles cooked al dente in boiling salted water
Blue cheese and crackers, for garnish

Melt the butter in the bottom of a medium stockpot or large saucepan. Dice the carrots, celery, and onion (I chose a large dice for a chunky texture) and add them to the melted butter in the pan. Add the salt.

Cook, stirring until the onions have softened and the celery and carrots are beginning to soften.

Add the crushed tomatoes, one can full of water, and several grinds of black pepper.

Heat to boiling, lower to a simmer and let the soup cook until the vegetables are cooked through. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, as desired.

Just before the soup is done, cook the noodles, drain them, and add the to the soup.

Serve the soup hot with a garnish of crackers and blue cheese.

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