Last week, one of my fellow teachers was eating lunch in my room with me. She had with her a Tomato Florentine soup that she had bought at a local eatery.
She had shared a bite with me, and we sat there trying to figure out what all was in the soup. Finally we Googled it up and decided we each must make a batch on our own. She has yet to make hers, but she reassured me that hers would be fabulous. And I have no doubt. But in the meantime, I gathered all the ingredients for my version and proceeded to make several soups over the weekend. Since I loved this one so, it is the first to be posted!
My friend's soup was the basic Tomato Florentine. I looked at the different recipes I had Googled and combined several of them. THEN I proceeded to make my version creamy by adding in whipping cream. I just wanted you to be aware that there are MANY recipes out there for regular Tomato Florentine. In fact you could probably take my recipe and just not add the whipping cream. It is delicious both ways. I have included the directions for both varieties.
Creamy Tomato Florentine Soup
3 TBS Butter
3 TBS flour
3 TBS Butter
1 clove garlic
1 batch green onions, chopped. (I use all the green part too)
1 TBS dried basil
1 can chicken broth
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 TBS ketchup
2/3 cup vegetable juice (I used V8)
1 14.5 oz can Italian style tomatoes
Several dashes of hot pepper sauce
2 TBS sugar
Handful of chopped parsley (optional)
Black pepper to taste
1 cup macaroni noodle
2 cups Whipping cream or Half and Half
1/2 cup frozen spinach
**************In a small skillet, melt 3 TBS butter and add the flour. (I happen to use Wondra, because it is wonderful to use for gravies and bases. Flour works fine too.) Stir this together until it boils and makes your base. It will be kind of pasty. If it gets too lumpy, don't be afraid to add a little chicken broth or milk.
When I cook, there is no exactness. Ever.
After you have done that, let it sit to the side for a few minutes.
In a big stock pan/dutch oven or whatever you want to call it, add the other 3 TBS butter. Let this melt and add the chopped onions. Add the garlic and basil as well. Saute until the onion is tender. This will smell heavenly.
Add to this the chicken broth (I actually ended up using about 1 1/2 cans, because I had some left over from the other soup I made, so I just added it. It was not a problem. ) Add the crushed tomatoes, the canned tomatoes, vegetable juice and the ketchup. Stir well. Let simmer. (I tasted it at his point and realized why you needed to add the sugar. The sugar helps tame some of that acidic tomato taste.)
Add the sugar. (Add more if you think it needs it.)
Add the parsley, black pepper and hot sauce all to taste.
Stir. Simmer. Taste.
****************At this point, if you are going to make the regular Tomato Florentine, you would just add your macaroni and spinach and let cook for about 25 minutes. You would not need to make the base. Eat it up and enjoy.
IF you are going to make it like the picture, keep cooking!
It is at this point that you take your base in that small skillet and put it into the soup. Whisk it up, so there are no lumps. Stir and let simmer a few minutes. Add the whipping cream now. Stir well. Let it thicken up. By now your soup should look delicious and just like the picture. Let it simmer and absorb all the flavors. I served mine with homemade croutons and grated parmesan.
I used half of a box (see picture) of the frozen spinach. I just cut the package in half and put the frozen spinach right into the hot soup. I stirred it as it was breaking up, so that it would be completely cooked. Florentine means cooked with spinach, so I figured that was a key ingredient!
Also, it calls for macaroni noodles, which is just fine. But I always have to play around with recipes. I used the little corkscrew looking noodles (Radiatore) instead. Plus, because I cannot leave well enough alone, I added half a package of the 4-cheese Tortellini noodles.
I ate this the night I made it, as well as the next two days for lunch. It is one of those soups that keeps getting better each time. I just warmed it up in the microwave the following two days, but it could be warmed on the stove as well. It could always be thinned down with more broth or cream.
It would also be a great soup to make for Super Bowl Sunday. It would be Souper!!
Those homemade croutons....They couldn't be easier. I had some stale hot dog buns. I literally just cut them up, put them in a baking pan and added several blobs of butter. I put them in the oven at 350 degrees and kept them in there until they were toasty. You can also sprinkle the bread with garlic and/or onion salt.
Sprinkle the croutons on top with some grated cheese and you have a great winter meal.
Come back tomorrow and I will share the Cheeseburger Soup that I made. It was a man-pleaser for sure!