I’ve definitely had soup on my mind lately. Not only has the weather turned cold (well, kind of) but I was also very inspired by the Zuppe presentation last week.
But since I’ve also been very busy lately, once again it got to be that time of night when dinner had to be on the table in an hour and I thought I had nothing in the house. I desperately wanted some kind of soup but I hadn’t soaked any beans, didn’t have any great stock and no fresh vegetables were hiding in my fridge.
However, as always, my pantry was pretty full. As was my ‘root cellar.’
Ok. I don’t really have a root cellar. But I do have a space beneath our stairs that is dark, and cool and where we stash things like crates of potatoes and onions.
What am I doing with crates of potatoes and onions you ask? Our friend Paolo has a farm up in Tuscany and every fall we buy kilos of his fantastic potatoes and onions, as well as his passata di pomodoro.
The passata makes its way into just about everything during the year. Pasta for sure, but I also add a cup or so to whenever I’m making: stews, roast or sauces. It’s kind of like having summer in a jar.
The potatoes are another story. Each year when Paolo gives us the potatoes, he gives us very specific instructions about which ones are good for roasting, which for gnocchi, which for mashed potatoes. Which I immediately forget. The potatoes get all mixed up, and I just reach blindly in our under-lit ‘root cellar’ and hope for the best.
After grabbing an apron-full of potatoes and onions (yes, just like a farmer lady would do in her root cellar) tomato and potato soup was on the table in under an hour.
Tomato + Potato Soup
(serves 4 – 6)
1/2 kilo / 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes.
5 cups good quality tomato puree
3/4 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons high quality paprika
2 tabelspoons dill (or other herb)*
1 tsp sea salt
3 cups water
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
extra olive oil for drizzling
Put soup pan over low heat and add olive oil and butter. Add chopped onions and salt and let cook gently for about 10 to 15 minutes, until softened.
Add the tomatoes and let cook briskly for about 10 minutes.
Add the dill, potatoes and water. Stir, and cover. Let cook for about a half hour, until potatoes are completely cooked.
Using an immersible blender, blend until smooth. Add lemon juice and stir well. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
To serve, pour into bowl and swirl on a drizzle of olive oil.
*I used dried dill, because it was sitting there on the counter. I think it would be equally good with fresh dill, or course, or basil. But if you’re making this in the winter, better to use high quality dried herbs, rather than wimpy winter basil.