Fall has arrived in Buenos Aires, and while it’s certainly mild by my northeastern USA standards, there’s a definite chill in the air. Which means I’m spending a lot more time in the kitchen, now that I can cook without turning the entire apartment into an oven.
I love making soup when the weather gets cold; it’s easy, makes the apartment smell delicious and we have leftovers for days. Of course by the third day, I’m annoyed that I’ve been eating the same soup for lunch and dinner. Depressingly, I was recently told by a taxi driver who was appalled that I’ve never had an affair (or as they call them here, aventuras, which literally means “adventures”) that there’s a saying in Argentina amongst married people in regards to their spouses: otra vez, sopa. Soup, again. According to this charming taxista, no matter how good-looking or how good at (ahem) extracurricular activities you may be, your spouse will eventually look at you and think, “otra vez, sopa.”
And yes, this is apparently a normal and accepted topic conversation between a cab driver and his passenger. God Bless Argentina.
On that uplifting note, on to the recipe! The good thing about making tomato soup is there are so many ways to riff on the original batch, you really can’t get tired of it quickly. Stir in some goat cheese or cream, make it with grilled cheese on the side, add some pasta…the possibilities are endless.
Although I’ll never turn up my nose at good ol’ Campbell’s, I love making this robust roasted tomato version from scratch with plenty of fresh basil. For a spicy kick, I add crushed red pepper.
ROASTED TOMATO BASIL SOUP
1 1/2 pounds plum or Roma tomatoes
2 T. olive oil plus 1 1/2 tsp for later
one large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh basil
1 quart chicken stock (you can use vegetable stock to make this vegetarian)
14 oz. canned plum tomatoes in juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp canola oil
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Mix tomatoes, pepper and salt. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons canola oil and toss gently to coat, then spread on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. Saute onions and garlic with remaining 1 1/2 tsp canola oil and red pepper in large pot on medium-low heat for 15 minutes or until onions brown. Add canned tomatoes, stock, basil and thyme to the same pot, then pour in baked tomatoes with liquid from baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Blend in a blender or food processor, in batches if necessary, until only slightly chunky. Can be served hot or cold.