With cool weather and our pending trip to Italy next week, I was in the mood for a steaming bowl of this Creamy Italian Tomato Soup. When I first had to switch to a gluten-free diet, I really missed my childhood favorite, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. But with the tender and delicious gluten-free breads I can make now from my cookbook and canned tomatoes that are available all year long, I can still have this comforting meal any time I want!
Instead of the standard canned tomato soup, I made my own version of Creamy Italian Tomato Soup, amping up the seasonings, adding oregano, onions and garlic to make it taste like a pasta sauce flavored soup, and using cream and butter to smooth it out and add a luscious richness. There is no need to add sugar to reduce the acidity of the tomatoes because the cream will balance it. This soup tastes almost as good as what I make in the summer with the tomatoes from my garden and is much faster and easier.
I love homemade soups in the cold months and this is one of my top choices. If you’ve never made soup from scratch, you will be amazed at how easy it is and how much more delicious. Plus you can customize the seasonings any way you like. Flexibility and creativity always appeal to me!
Canned tomatoes are one of the greatest conveniences that came out of the post-war transition to processed foods. Suddenly fruits and vegetables were available all year long – a real luxury compared to eating seasonally.
In the late 50s scientists started using BPA to create resin linings for tin cans to reduce the metallic flavor in foods. In recent years it has been discovered that BPH can disrupt the endocrine system. The acidity in tomatoes tends to leach BPA out of the can lining. To avoid this, look for tomatoes in glass bottles or paper boxes. My favorite brand is Pomi. Packaged in boxes, this Italian company makes a truly superior product that is available worldwide.
This soup improves when made ahead, giving the flavors time to meld together and get richer. It only takes about 45 minutes to make from scratch and once made, is a snap to reheat for your family, as quick as opening a can of soup and much, much healthier and better tasting.
The Artist and I really enjoyed this luxurious Creamy Italian Tomato Soup and will be having it again when we have returned from Italy – probably with grilled cheese sandwiches – sharing stories about our trip together and with you!
Enjoy, my friends!
This recipe is naturally gluten-free!
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 4 tbsp) butter
- 1/2 lb (about 1 large) onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved, core discarded
- 3 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 (28 oz) cans chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp butter
- Kosher or sea salt and white pepper, to taste
- In a large (4-quart or larger) stainless steel saucepot or enameled Dutch oven melt 1/4 cup of the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and oregano. Cover with a lid and sweat the vegetables about 3 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid, add the tomato paste and smash it into the onions. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomato paste is slightly toasty smelling and is somewhat melted into the onions.
- Stir in the tomatoes, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and the onions have nearly dissolved, stirring occasionally. Taste it and if it still tastes “raw” or sharp, put it back on the stove for a little longer. Remove the soup from the heat.
- Use an immersion blender if you have one or a regular blender to puree the mixture thoroughly. If you are using a blender, only fill it half full and make sure the lid is slightly ajar. You need to let the steam escape or it will blow the top off your blender! Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to protect you from splashes, and then pulse in the blender until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a bowl and repeat until you have pureed the entire batch. Return the pureed soup to the pot.
- Add 1/2 cup of the cream, 2 tbsp of butter, salt, and white pepper to the soup and warm to a simmer over low heat. Taste and adjust seasonings with more salt and pepper and add more cream if you want. Remove from the heat and ladle into warmed soup bowls.
- Yield: about 6 servings
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