Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tomato Alphabet (or Pasta) Soup with Parmesan Crisps

Aren't these little pasta wheels cute? I looked everywhere for Alphabet pasta, but was unsuccessful in locating it, so I substituted these little wheels. It is one in a series of new "minature" shapes. I saw the bowties too and they are adorable.

I saw this soup recipe with the cute parmesan garnish in Rachel Ray EVERYDAY Magazine and thought it looked delish. We had cold, dreary, wet day and this soup was the perfect fix.
I adapted it a bit from the original recipe which you can find here. It was nice and thick and by the time we got to the bottom of the pot, it was more like pasta with sauce than soup, which ended up being perfect because my husband hates tomatoes and he had no idea it was tomato soup!

Tomato Alphabet Soup with Parmesan Crisps
2 cups shredded parmesan cheese (4 ounces)
1 Tbls olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
One 32-oz container (4 cups) vegetable broth
One 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2-2 Tbls butter, at room temperature
1/2 pd alphabet or other small pasta
2 cups water
salt and pepper
fresh dill sprigs

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner. Sprinkle four 1/4-cup mounds of parmesan about 2 inches apart onto each prepared baking sheet; slightly flatten with a spoon. Bake until golden-brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool for 30 seconds. Using a thin metal spatula, drape the crisps over a rolling pin until hardened into shape, about 3 minutes. (Keep out of the reach of small children because they will devour them and you will end up with no garnish!)

2. In a dutch oven or soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring, until softened and browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and tomatoes, cover, and bring to a boil.

3. Using a blender or an immersion blender, puree the soup with the butter. In the soup pot, stir the pasta into the soup and cook until al dente. Stir in 2 cups water. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Ladle the soup into bowls or mugs and top with a parmesan crisp and fresh dill. If you don't want to make the parmesan crisps, you can also just sprinkle shredded parmesan cheese on the soup. The parmesan crisps will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days.