Dining

Cent’ Anni: Want to better control you diet? Try growing some tomatoes organically

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Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Abundant in vitamin C, biotin, vitamin K, and carotenes, tomatoes are easier to grow than you think, and less costly to your wallet and the environment. I grow all kinds of varieties in my backyard (including heirloom). It’s fun to see all the different colors pop, and the flavors are so distinctive. If you can’t grow your own, try to buy organic varieties because the residual pesticide level on tomatoes is rather high. Also, unripe fruit is generally not as nutritionally rich as ripe fruit, so go for good color and a uniform and firm texture.

I love roasting tomatoes because it brings out the flavor and makes them taste so much richer. I created a spicy version of tomato soup by using red pepper flakes and one of my favorite Italian meats known as Sopressata. I hope you love it as much as my family does.

Check out the recipe after the jump:

Spicy Roasted Tomato Soup (serves four)

  • 8 large ripe tomatoes
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup onions, finely chopped
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 thin slices of Sopressata
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano

For the Soup:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a flat baking sheet with foil. Arrange tomatoes on baking sheet (core side down) and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast until the edges of the tomatoes begin to slightly brown a bit, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove tomatoes from the oven and let cool to the touch. Gently remove the core and peel from each tomato. Place tomatoes in small batches in a blender and puree until smooth.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook garlic, onions and peppers in olive oil until softened. Add pureed tomatoes, basil, chicken broth and red pepper flakes. Simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Presentation:

Ladle soup into 4 individual soup bowls. Garnish with Sopressata slices (2 slices per bowl) and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Maria’s Tip:  You can easily substitute fresh tomatoes with 2-14.5 ounce cans crushed tomatoes in puree.

Recipe by Maria Desiderata Montana

Maria Desiderata Montana is an award-winning food and wine journalist, editor, and published author based in San Diego. She gained an appreciation of European cuisine from her parents who were born and raised in Calabria, Italy. Visit her website at www.sandiegofoodfinds.com.

3 Comments

  1. John Zakhar

    August 10, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Do you use an organic fertilizer, and if so what brand?

  2. Francesca

    August 10, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Don’t forget the benefits of Lycopene!! Quick note, you get more Lycopene when you cook thetomatoes, then if you eat them raw. How do I know? Tomatoes are my favvvv food!

  3. Maria Montana

    August 10, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Hello John,
    I use a rich mixture of natural soil and mulch….. and a lot of TLC!! -:)
    Maria

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