Winter Soup and a Good Book for Book Club

Winter Tomato and Garlic Soup 1  3648x2736Last week by some miracle (read a blizzard-free night), ten of the thirteen members of my book club braved the freezing temperatures and the snow covered streets and roads of our small New England town to meet at my house for our monthly gathering. Although the menu choices are up to each host, I thought we all needed some comfort food, and decided on a soup supper. A winter tomato and garlic soup garnished with creamy blue cheese bruschette was the centerpiece and a dense chocolate cake the finale. A mixed greens salad tossed with julienned fennel, blood orange segments, and toasted walnuts rounded out the meal. Both the food and the book selection—All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr—got good reviews!All The Light We Cannot See Cover

This delicious tomato soup, vibrantly scented with garlic and unexpectedly with a hint of bracing orange, is a snap to assemble and takes less than half an hour to simmer atop the stove. Although it is pureed, the texture of this rustic soup is still slightly chunky, adding to its charm. You can make this dish several days in advance and reheat it. For the bruschette, toast the baguette slices several hours ahead, then spread them with Gorgonzola and pop them in the oven at serving time.

Book Club 1 A with appetizers 3648x2736A bowl of soup, crisp, toasted bread topped with melted cheese, and a good book—winter in New England might even be survivable!

 

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Winter Tomato and Garlic Soup with Creamy Gorgonzola Bruschette

3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 tbsp minced garlic
Two 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained well
1 tbsp dried basil
3 1/2 to 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
Scant 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, plus more for extra heat if needed
Kosher salt
2 small pinches of sugar
3/4 cup Half and Half
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano Reggiano
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Gorgonzola and Rosemary Bruschette (recipe follows)

1. In a large(4 quart) saucepan set over medium heat, heat oil until hot. Add the onions and stir until they just start to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, 3 1/2 cups stock, basil, red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp salt, and sugar. Stir well to combine; bring mixture to a simmer. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Purée the soup in batches in a food processor, blender, or food mill, and return the soup to the pot. Or use an immersion blender to purée the soup in the pot. Stir the Half and Half, Parmesan cheese, and orange zest into the soup and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the soup is hot, 3 to 4 minutes. If you think the soup is too thick, thin it with a little extra stock. Season the soup with salt if needed and, if you’d like more heat, add a small pinch of red pepper flakes. (Soup can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat, stirring often, over medium heat.)

3. To serve, ladle the soup into six soup bowls. Serve the Gorgonzola Bruschette alongside the soup or, if you prefer, float them on top of it. Serves 6

Gorgonzola Bruschette
12 baguette slices, cut about 3/8-inch thick
Olive oil for brushing the bread slices
An 8-oz piece creamy Gorgonzola such as Gorgonzola Dolce, softened slightly
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

1. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Have ready a foil-lined baking sheet.

2. Brush both sides of the baguette slices generously with olive oil and place on the baking sheet. Bake slices until golden and just crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. (Slices can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Keep at room temperature.)

3. Spread each slice with some Gorgonzola and  return to the oven for 3 to 4 minutes until the cheese has melted. Sprinkle the bruschette with a little chopped rosemary.

Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2015

3 thoughts on “Winter Soup and a Good Book for Book Club

    • Thanks so much! This soup is so easy! Hope your FB readers will enjoy it!

      And, I picked the wall color for my blog from a color wheel–took me many days and tries to decide! Glad you like it.

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