One of my favorites, summer or winter, now with a secret to prepare it fast, easy and in every season.

Time: 45 min.

Level: beginner-intermediate

Price: rather “cost effective”

Type: carnivorous – it tastes the best with chicken broth, though I take out the meat for another course. One could try to make it vegan with some “soup” cubes from Knorr, but I never use those…

Another shortcut recipe to the traditional way of peeling, taking out the seeds and mashing of the tomatoes which take more time than we’re willing to spend in the kitchen.

I use tomato purée or passata di pomodoro as they call it in Italy.

If you choose a quality brand and make sure it’s as fresh as possible (no preservatives) and also that is sweet, not salty, than your soup should taste divine.

Here we go:

Ingredients:

– 1 pack of chicken meat, even the cheap “back, feet and head” would do, we only need the broth out of it. You can also use 2 cow bones, make sure they still have the marrow.

– 5 l. of water

– 300 gr. , roughly 2 handfuls of fine pasta (vermicelli)

– 2 or 3 packs of 500 gr. of tomato purée (passata di pomodoro)

– salt

– grated cheese

– parsley

Optional:  (add 5 min. to preparation time)

– 1 or 2 eggs

– a handful of rice

– one carrot

– croutons or simply toast

You will also need:

– a 6 l.  pot with a lid

– another 6 l. pot

– a fine (tea) strainer

– oven mitts

– a skimmer

– two plates

– a fork

– a peeling knife or a plain kitchen all-purpose knife

– a chopping tray

Preparation:

1. Wash the meat and put it in the pot with the 5 l. of clear tap water to boil. Cover with the lid so it boils faster.

I know some of you are used to watch out and skim the broth once the meat starts to boil, but this is not necessary, because we will strain the entire thing pretty soon.

2. Meanwhile, if you decide to add rice, wash the rice thoroughly in a plate, by adding water and draining it several times.

3. Also, if you want to add the carrot, peel and chop it now to any sizes and shapes suit your fancy, but keep in mind the smaller the pieces, the faster it boils. I prefer my tomato soup carrot-free. And chop the parsley, too, while you’re at it.

4. This is when you should also cut open your packs of tomato purée, because you’ll need them handy very soon.

5. It should take some 20-to-30 minutes until the broth is finally done. Once the water starts to boil you should leave it for at least 10 minutes, or until the meat is done. Your sense of smell will let you know that. This is when you turn off the oven and take off the lid to let some steam out.

6. Using the skimmer tool, fish out the meat pieces onto a plate. Your broth should smell delicious and have nice fatty spots on its surface.

7. I usually do this step by myself, but here’s where your significant other may come in and lend a hand. I simply put the skimmer across the second pot and make sure the tea strainer is steady between the pot’s edge and the skimmer’s handle. But you can ask a reliable person to simply hold the strainer while you pour the steaming broth. Here’s where you need to be awfully careful and use the oven mitts. Or, if you’re in no hurry, just wait a few more minutes for the broth to cool down. If you want to wait, add those minutes to the preparation time, because I didn’t.

8. Your broth is now clear of any foam or impurities that might have resulted from boiling the meat (or the cow bones). Put the new pot again on the stove and wait until it reaches boiling temperature. If you add rice and carrots, you can put them in right from the beginning, as they take more time to boil and they will moisten in the warm broth until it starts to boil. Don’t forget to stir gently, especially if you add rice.

9. Once your broth is boiling, add the vermicelli and keep stirring gently. The vermicelli should take between 3 to 8 minutes to boil, depending on make and model. I prefer the very fine ones, that take very little to be done.

10. While you stir with the skimmer, you can pick up you “fish” – a carrot piece, some rice, some vermicelli – to check if they are done. The carrot should be tender, easy to cut through with a knife or fork, the rice should be a fine white and near splitting, while the vermicelli should be slightly thicker and very tender. Don’t let them boil over this level, or you’ll end up with a mashed purée of everything.

11. It’s time to add the tomato purée by stirring it gently into the broth. Keep stirring for another 3 to 5 minutes and only now you may add salt to your taste.

12. Once the soup is salted to taste, you turn off the stove and cover it with a lid while you beat one or two eggs into a plate with a fork.

13. Take of the lid, careful with the steam, and while stirring gently, pour the beaten egg into the steaming soup. The egg will instantly boil, so you must pour it very thin, unless you want to have big chunks of egg into your soup.

14. Now you can leave the lid off and add the chopped parsley.

15. Serve very hot, with grated cheese that melts into strings and croutons or toast, to your liking.

Bon appetit!

P.S. Don’t forget to wash the first pot in which you boiled the meat and all the tools you used, before sitting down for the meal. This way, you will only have two plates and spoons to clean up with a full stomach.

Also, have a plan for what to do with the meat or bones. But this will be a tale for another kitchen game.

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