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 CREAM OF TOMATO SOUP WITH HOMEMADE RICOTTA CHEESE & ARUGULA PESTO

As far as soups go this is my favorite to make, serve, and eat! It’s basically a very simple and quick tomato sauce for pasta, omelets, and baked dishes such as chicken or fish. It makes a delicious soup served piping hot or chilled which is perfect for right now since it’s summer! 🙂 It’s light, full of sweet tomato flavor, and good for your health since it is filled with a powerful antioxidant Lycopene.

Lycopene improves heart health by lowering blood pressure which helps in preventing coronary heart disease, fights toxins in the blood, and helps keep your eyes healthy. Lycopene has pain-inhibiting abilities for those suffering from neuropathy and is good for your brain by counteracting future cell damage. It also helps keep your bones strong too by helping relieve stress in the bones.

For added flavor and texture I add as a garnish, homemade Ricotta cheese, and arugula pesto. You can use store-bought Ricotta cheese for this recipe but I highly recommend you make your own. It’s surprisingly simple to make and the difference in the flavor and texture is like night and day. The peppery arugula pesto gives this mellow, creamy soup just the right amount of bright flavor with a hint of garlic and the extra flavor of extra virgin olive oil!

IF YOU USE IT AS A PASTA SAUCE, 

Do not add the vegetable or chicken stock. If the sauce is too thick however you can thin it out by adding 1/4 of soup at a time. NO NEED TO MAKE RICOTTA OR THE PESTO

Yields 1 quart

4 to 6 servings

Arugula Pesto, recipe below

Homemade Ricotta cheese, recipe below

SOUP

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

12 scallions with green parts included chopped into small chunks

½ cup dry white wine

16 large organic Roma tomatoes cut into quarters

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat a saucepan on medium-high heat for one minute. Add olive oil and scallions, turn heat to medium and cook 5 minutes to sweat the scallions. Add white wine and cook down by more than half. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and mix together.

Turn heat to a low simmer for 30 minutes. Make sure to stir a few times during cooking.

Add the tomatoes into a food processor or blender, puree tomato mixture for a good minute.

*Strain the tomatoes through Chinois or medium-mesh strainer to collect the seeds and skins, discard seeds and skin.

Pour the strained tomatoes into a clean pot, add chicken or vegetable broth and simmer for 20 minutes.

If the soup is too thick, add chicken or vegetable stock ¼ cup at a time to create a smooth creamy consistency. Taste and correct seasoning adding more salt if necessary. If you want to serve the soup chilled pour into a glass bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator for 5 hours or overnight. Before I serve I place the soup bowls in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Ladle soup into chilled bowls and garnish with 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese, and 1 tablespoon of arugula pesto. Serve immediately.

If you want to serve it hot, heat on medium heat until the soup starts to gently form bubbles on the side of the pan, Stir and heat for 10 minutes stirring often.

RICOTTA CHEESE 

INGREDIENTS

2 quarts whole milk

1-cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

cheesecloth

INSTRUCTIONS

Take a layer of cheesecloth, double it up and line a mesh strainer and place it over or in a large bowl. Set aside.

Bring the milk, cream, and salt slowly to a rolling boil in a heavy pot stirring occasionally so it won’t scorch.

Add lemon juice. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly until the mixture curdles.  (1 to 2 minutes)

Pour into the lined strainer and drain for an hour. Discard the liquid that collects at the bottom of the pot. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill.  Will keep for 2 days in the refrigerator.

ARUGULA PESTO

Makes 1 cup

INGREDIENTS

4 cups of arugula

1 small garlic clove, peeled

1-1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese

½ teaspoon of kosher salt

1 Tablespoon lemon zest

INSTRUCTIONS

Wash and spin dry arugula well. In a blender or food processor add the arugula and garlic and process for 15 seconds. Stop blender or food processor then add the olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pulse chopped to incorporate the ingredients. Don’t over blend you don’t want a thick paste.

CHEFS NOTES

  1. *The secret to a great fresh tomato sauce/soup is to strain it, if not you will be left with a bitter-tasting sauce from the seeds and skins.

I use a Chinois to strain all my soups and sauces. It’s shaped like a funnel and is one tool in my kitchen I can’t live without. It removes seeds and other coarse matter from soft foods. You can find China Caps or Chinoise on Amazon.

If you don’t have a China cap use a strainer with holes just large enough to catch the skin and seeds. If the mesh is too tight the holes will be too small and the tomatoes will be runny and too liquid.

2. Pesto will last up to 2 days in the refrigerator. You don’t want to leave pesto, any pesto in the refrigerator for more than 2 days. Garlic is a living organism and will grow mold after a few days. Best to make small amounts and consume within a couple of days.

If you want to make bigger batches I suggest you pour them into ice cube trays, freeze them, thaw what you need one when you want to use in a recipe.

 

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