Monday, October 16, 2006

Soup for a snowy day - ZUPPA del CONTADINA

The first snow always catches me off guard. The lawn chairs were still on the patio! So it’s a good day to make Zuppa del Contadina (Peasant Soup), a tomato soup we made frequently the winter we spent in Italy. Since we have a ton (only slight exaggeration) of tomatoes ripening in the basement, the ingredients are on hand. However, my herbs were under a crust of snow. No matter, sage and oregano can stand the cold. I got out the broom, brushed them off, and snipped a few sprigs for the soup.

My current Saskatchewan food goal is: Every day, eat something I picked with my own hand. So, on the first unoffical day of winter, I have succeeded to do just that.

ZUPPA del CONTADINA

4 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped small
2 stalks celery, chopped small
About 12 ripe tomatoes, or a 500 g of canned tomatoes, chopped
a few sprigs of fresh herbs such as parsley, oregano and sage, chopped
salt and pepper
1 litre of soup stock (I used chicken stock)
day-old country bread, toasted

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Add the carrots and celery. Cook until tender. Add the chopped tomatoes and herbs, and simmer until they start to cook together. Sprinkle on some salt and fresh pepper. Add the stock, bring to a boil, then simmer on low for an hour or so. Adjust the seasoning to your taste. To serve, place a piece of toasted bread in the bottom of the bowl before spooning on the soup. PS: I like to remove the seeds from the tomatoes before adding them to the soup. Cut the tomatoes in quarters and use a small spoon to scrape out the seeds. Then chop them into smaller pieces for the soup.

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