Winter is starting to lick the heels of Autumn, any day now we will loose the warm days and be struck down with blowing cold winds and snow capped mountains in the distance. We have had a few days where I’ve managed to drag the wooly coat out and walk down the hill but you know it’s not really winter when you are finally at the bottom of the hill and you’ve stripped off down to your knickers because you are boiling hot. I don’t know how the Italians do it? I see them wrapped in scarves, thrice round their necks; big thick coats and long boots all walking along like they have just stepped out of the salon and here is me in a long sleeve top under my coat (minus scarf, boots & gloves) and I’m boiling from the inside out!
Despite my coat being just a bit too hot for me right now I am cooking winter warmers. My family loves soup and I have made quite a bit of the Tuscan variety, however, I am getting cries from the boys regarding their favourites- pumpkin soup and tomato soup. I’d love to make pumpkin soup, however, I am lacking in the blender department and I’m not one for chunky pumpkin soup so tomato it was.
Shelly went on a trip with a friend of hers to Umbria last week and I was lucky enough to score some delicious sweet cipolle which are a real treat.
I knew they would be perfect for my tomato soup, slowly sauteed with garlic, olive oil and sea salt for ultimate flavour. I have a new found love in the kitchen at the moment and it is Sicilian grey sea salt. The flavour is very soft, light and compliments the cooking process beautifully. I love to saute my onions with more olive oil than I usually would use and a good size teaspoon of this salt. It sets the flavour base for many a yummy meal and allows me to adjust the seasoning throughout instead of right at the end, which I am noticing is a very Tuscan way to cook.
Tomato soup would have to be the simplest of all the soups, every time I make it I wonder if I have done it correctly because it is pretty much over before I start. Once I have the onions and garlic soft and breaking apart slightly I then add a bottle of passata (smooth tomato sauce with no additives) and two tins of whole peeled tomatoes, roughly diced. Once they are added and brought to a boil, I reduce the temperature to a simmer, add a teaspoon of pepper, tablespoon wine vinegar (red or white), 1/2 cup water and then simmer for about 30 minutes.
Just before I’m about to serve I’ll add a dash of cream, check the seasoning and then if I’m after a bit more of a treat, I’ll serve it with pesto parmesan bread. A lunch fit for a king…….or at the least two very hungry school boys!
I know it isn’t typical Italian cuisine but I am wondering if I could serve this to the locals and get away with it?