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) 


  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.

  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.

  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?"

  4. Steve,

    Where should we eat in Chicago?

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

    Can you get us into Alinea?

  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.

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

  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.

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


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.