TOMATO SOUP WITH HOMEMADE RICOTTA CHEESE & ARUGULA PESTO & GRILLED NAN!

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CREAM OF TOMATO SOUP WITH HOMEMADE RICOTTA CHEESE & ARUGULA PESTO

As far as soups go this is another one of my favorites to make, serve, and eat! It’s basically a very simple and quick tomato sauce for pasta that you can make into a soup! It makes a delicious soup served piping hot or chilled in the hot summer months. 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 this recipe, I make homemade Ricotta cheese and arugula pesto for added flavor and texture! You can use store-bought Ricotta cheese but I highly recommend you make your own. It’s surprisingly simple and easy to do. The peppery arugula pesto gives this mellow, creamy soup just the right amount of bright flavor.

 Yields 2 quarts

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 for garnish

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

red pepper flakes

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 the 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.

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 200 F.

PLACE SOUP BOWLS INTO THE OVEN TO WARM

If the soup is too thick, add more chicken or vegetable stock ¼ cup at a time to create a smooth creamy consistency. Taste and correct seasoning adding more salt if necessary.

REMOVE BOWLS FROM OVEN WITH OVEN MITTS

Bring to a gentle boil for 5 minutes. Ladle the hot soup into bowls and garnish with 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese, and 1 tablespoon of arugula pesto. Serve immediately.

 

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.

GRILLED NAN BREAD

6 slices of NAN BREAD
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup crumbled Greek of French Feta cheese

10 fresh basil leaves rolled tightly and sliced thin
6 fresh mint leaves coarsely chopped
Extra olive oil for drizzling over nan
Edible flowers (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat a grill pan on high for 5 minutes. Brush the Nan on both sides with olive oil until grill marks show, about 1 to 2 minutes. Keep an eye on it.
Remove from heat and sprinkle over Greek feta, basil, mint, drizzle olive oil, about 1 teaspoon per nan, edible flowers! Available on Amazon!

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