Food Flirt

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Location: Petaluma, California, United States

Jacqueline is an international award winning journalist whose stories about food never fail to tantalize her reader's taste buds.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tomato Florentine Soup

Around this time of year I begin to think about fresh, vine ripened tomatoes.  Alas, it is too early in the year for them.  The truly ripe, delicious ones don’t appear until at least July.  My granddaughters, Isabelle and Sophia like to pick out perfect tomatoes for me at the Marin Farmer's Market.

I came across a recipe for tomato soup, using canned tomatoes with fresh spinach tossed in just before serving.  It sounded so good I just had to give it a try.  It was easy to make and the results were absolutely delicious and solved my tomato cravings!

Tips:  be careful with the red pepper flakes.  The soup doesn't have a lot of spicy ingredients and so the pepper flakes can turn up the heat quite easily.  Taste as you go along.  If using a counter top blender blend the soup in small amounts, then pour into a separate pot as you go along.  Be sure to place a kitchen towel over the lid of the blender.  I forgot to do this the first time I made this soup and wound up with bright red soup all over the kitchen and me!  Yikes!


Makes 9 cups

Total time:  50 minutes              

½ cup chopped shallots
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped garlic
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ cup dry white wine
2 cans whole tomatoes in juice (28 oz. each)
2 cups low sodium chicken stock or water
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 bag fresh baby spinach, chopped (5 oz.)
Salt and pepper to taste
Crumbled blue cheese

Sweat shallots in oil in a large pot over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and pepper flakes; cook 1 minute.

Deglaze pan with wine, simmer until nearly evaporated.  Add tomatoes, broth and basil.  Increase heat to medium-high; bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer soup for 10 minutes.  Puree soup with a hand blender (or in small batches in a standard blender.  Be sure to put a towel over the top of blender to prevent spatters) until smooth.  Return soup to the pot and bring it to a simmer.

Stir in sugar and vinegar.  Just before serving, stir in spinach; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish soup with croutons and blue cheese if you desire.

Nutrition information
 Per cup:  95 Calories