RAINY DAYS MAKE THE BEST SOUP DAYS!
Can’t believe we’re already in the month of September, 2022! Where did the summer go? I woke up this morning to a dreary, rainy day, and some of the leaves from our trees just beginning to fall onto the lawn! I can’t believe it! Although I love when the humidity begins to drop in the Northeast of the country this time of year, and there’s just the slightest bit of chill at night and in the early morning, I can’t seem to want to let the summer go. But life doesn’t work that way, does it? Time moves on and change happens every day!
So as I embrace the change I thought what better way to embrace September than to make soup! I’ve had a tomato soup recipe in my recipe collection for ages, and I thought I would doctor it up a little and make it like a French Onion soup but Italian style! It’s so simple to make, as you just need a handful of ingredients that most of us have in our fridge and pantry. The recipe I have actually begins with pancetta, but I usually substitute bacon since I have it on hand.
After sautéing the bacon until almost crisp and draining most of the fat from the pot, adding some chopped onion, green or red pepper, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and some seasonings, you just let it simmer on the stove for about an hour.
TO BLEND OR NOT TO BLEND!
Now I usually top this soup with croutons and some grated Italian cheese, but this time I thought I would add a little cream and blend the soup with an immersion blender!
It gave it a totally different texture! Now you can serve it just like that, but I added a piece of crusty Italian bread (keep it on the thin side) and some mozzarella cheese, put it in the oven, broiled it quickly so the cheese melted, and served it like you would French Onion soup!
Now I’ll be honest here. My husband liked the soup without either blending it or putting Italian bread and cheese on top, and thought it came out a little thick. Me, on the other hand, loved the heartiness of it, and the thicker texture, more like a stew. So if you like it without blending it, you can just throw some croutons on the top of it too, and eat it immediately so you still have a drier crunch to each spoonful of soup!
Whatever way you decide to try it, don’t hesitate to add some other veggies you may have in your fridge like zucchini, carrots, or cut green beans as this can be a base for a minestrone soup!
Until next time,
Let’s get cookin’ together,
Italian Style Panzanella Tomato Soup
- 1 4 - 8 Quart Pot with Lid
- 4 Soup crocks or bowls (oven safe)
- ½ pound pancetta or bacon
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup white onions, chopped
- ½ cup green peppers, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped You can substitute 2 tsp dried oregano
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped You can substitute 2 tsp dried basil
- 28 ounces can of petite diced tomatoes
- 3 cups chicken broth
- ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese You can substitute parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ cup light cream optional
- 4 thin slices toasted Italian bread or baguettes
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded) You can substitute 4 slices of hard mozzarella cheese
- Heat pot on medium heat with olive oil.
- Sauté bacon until just turning crisp, about 10 minutes or so.
- Drain most of the bacon fat from the soup, leaving enough to just cover the bottom of the pan, keeping the bacon in.
- Add onions and peppers, sautéing a few minutes until they start to soften.
- Add diced tomatoes, chicken broth, basil, oregano, grated cheese, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Simmer on low for 45 - 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add light cream, and with an immersion blender, blend soup until somewhat smooth (the bacon will still be in small pieces).
- Heat over on broil, spoon soup into crock 3/4 way up, add thinly sliced crusty Italian bread and mozzarella cheese, and broil for a few minutes until cheese melts on top and becomes slightly browned.
- Carefully remove from oven and garnish with more grated cheese and/or fresh herbs if you'd like! Enjoy!