Monday, April 11, 2011

Tomato Ditalini Soup and Toasted Cheese Sandwich Soldiers

I love tomato soup. I made this, like virtually all meals lately, after midnight when Heather reminded me that neither of us has had dinner. I chopped a small sweet onion and softened it in a heap of butter in a heavy pot along with a couple mashed cloves of garlic and about a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger. Once the onions were soft, I added some rice flour to make a sort of roux and about a teaspoon of dried Mexican oregano, crushed. When that had cooked a tad, I threw in four plum tomatoes and a canned chipotle pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice. I let them all cook until just shy of drying out, then added a can of whole peeled tomoatoes, a tablespoon each of Worcester sauce and thai fish sauce and about a pint of chicken stock. When it all came up to a boil, I  buzzed it with a stick blender.

How did people make soup before stick blenders? They are the absolute stone cold nuts. You can fuck up a soup real bad and a stick blender will totally make it presentable. Having a stick blender is like a cheat code for Call Of Duty: Soup.

When the soup was fantastic, I added about a cup of ditalini pasta, which are the little tube segments about the size of a pencil eraser and brought it back to a boil. The ditalini add a nice toothiness to the soup and the pasta texture goes nicely with the butter. Ten more minutes on the simmer and boom, great soup.

Made a couple cheese sandwiches on Italian bread in the toaster sandwich basket and cut them into little dunkable sticks. I didn't dress the sandwich with olive oil as I do sometimes because we were out of olive oil. Note to self: get more olive oil. A little grated parmigiano on top and my reputation was safe. (vg without fish sauce, v also substitute oil for butter and no cheese) 

9 comments:

  1. this sounds great. ever tried throwing in a reggiano rind into the mix? simmer it a while in the stock and remove before blending. places like Whole Foods sell just rinds cheap. you might already know this.

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  2. I knew about boiling the rind, it's the Italian version of Kombu, but I don't go into Whole Foods often and I didn't know they sell pre-used rinds. If that place didn't creep me out hardcore I might have.

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  3. Stick blenders? Hell yeah. I read recipes that tell me to dump half the soup into a regular blender, whiz it up, and then pour it back into the non-blended half, and I say, "You're kidding, right?"

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  4. Steve,

    Where should we eat in Chicago?

    We're going to Moto, Kumas, Hot Dougs, and Superdog.

    Can you get us into Alinea?

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  5. All those places are worthwhile, but you should definitely hit Jim's Original late at night for a polish sausage or pork chop sandwich. If you're into barbecue, Lem's on 75th st is my favorite place for pork, especially their hot links which are insane. For chicken I recommend Hecky's in Evanston. If you like Vietnamese food, Pho Xe Tang, locally known as Tank Noodle in uptown has all the familiars plus weird back-country stuff, and across the street from Tank is a terrific sandwich place called Ba Le. I can't get you into Alinea, my credit rating isn't good enough. There are excellent spots in every neighborhood, just ask around.

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  6. Heather Whinna as Steve Albini
    Chinese-Three Happiness 209 W Cermak Rd
    Chicken- Uncle Joe's Jerk 8211 S Cottage Grove

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  7. Fish sauce and worcestershire in tomato soup? I never would have tried this before but it worked, really well. This soup was delicious. The fish sauce added some funky mystery and I liked the chipotle too. After making this I I'm going to expand the use of fish sauce in my future cooking.

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  8. Stick blenders do rule. I need to replace mine, since it started smoking. Sparks and slight smoke, like a low-end magic show.

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