Tomato White Cheddar Gnocchi Soup
I made this soup because it’s wicked cold outside and I’m sick and I thought some tomato soup would feel good on my throat. I’ve never made tomato soup mid-winter before. It always seems to me to be a harvest kind of soup … you make it when the tomatoes are coming out your ears and you don’t know what more you can do with them, don’t you? Well, I canned a bunch of fire-roasted tomatoes last summer just in case I did decide I wanted tomato soup in the middle of winter. Good thinking, me!
It’s awesome having a foodie family like mine. I can’t even begin to tell you how lucky I am. Not only do they give me tomatoes at harvest time (like BOXES of them), but they also give me little foodie gifts every time I see them. This time it was the fish and this gnocchi. My sister had made the gnocchi and brought it along to our Christmas gathering for us to eat, but we never got around to eating it. (This is a common problem we have at our gatherings: too much food, not enough time to eat it all!) So she asked me if I wanted it. I wasn’t really sure I did. The last time I had gnocchi, I wasn’t too keen on it. But I took it anyway because she offered it to me and how could I say no? It’s frozen, so easy to use whenever I care to try it.
I decided that some gnocchi “dumplings” would be good in tomato soup. And it was entirely perfect. Sublime. The little dumplings thicken up the soup very nicely and they are like little pillows that just melt in your mouth. I texted my sister right away to tell her how good her gnocchi is.
In case you are wondering, the purple leaves and flowers are from my purple basil plant. I always bring in my potted herbs and usually I have several green basil plants and no purple in the winter. This year it’s purple and no green! Ah well, I will take all the freshness I can get in the middle of winter. I love how the purple leaves contrast with the orange color of the soup. If you don’t have fresh herbs, you CAN substitute dried, but try to find fresh basil at least. It makes such a difference in the taste.
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 - 4 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped fine
- 1/2 Tablespoon butter
- 1 pint canned tomatoes
- 1 pint chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup dried leeks, chopped fine
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped very fine
- About 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen gnocchi (cut in half, if desired)
- 1 teaspoon or so of fresh tarragon, chopped fine
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
- 1/4 cup half & half (regular or fat free -- or substitute milk)
- 1/2 cup finely shredded aged cheddar cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is very soft and limp. Reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onion just begins to brown and caramelize, about 15 minutes.
- Put the tomatoes in the food processor or handi chopper and give them a whirl to break up any large chunks. Add the tomatoes and broth to the soup pot along with the dried leeks and rosemary.
- Turn heat up to medium to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the gnocchi and cook for 5 - 10 minutes or so until the gnocchi is tender and rises to the top. Stir in the tarragon, basil, half & half and cheese. Stir and cook for just a couple minutes longer to melt the cheese.
I cut my gnocchi in half because I wanted smaller "dumplings" in my soup. Feel free to cut them or leave them whole, whatever makes you happy.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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