Today is the first Friday of Lent. In the Catholic tradition, we don’t eat meat on Fridays. So my family requested one of their favorite recipes, my original Tomato Basil Bisque. It is delicious and hearty. Without the addition of half-n-half, it can also be a very diet-friendly recipe.
Tomato Basil Bisque by Dianne de Las Casas
20 medium-size vine-ripened tomatoes or 25 ripe roma tomatoes, diced into small cubes
1 c. water
4 boullion cubes
2 tubs of ready-made pesto
1/2 c. grated aged parmesan cheese
1 c. grated Italian blend cheeses
1 c. half-n-half
1 tbsp. dry basil
1 tbsp. garlic powder
3 heaping tbsp. minced garlic
Box of cheese straws
1 tsp. white pepper
Salt to taste
In a large pot, sautee’ minced garlic in a little extra virgin olive oil for about a minute or two. Add diced tomatoes and cook down until there is a visible amount of liquid in the pot. Add 1 cup of water and the four boullion cubes. Add all the dry ingredients. Let simmer for about 15 minutes. Then add the cheeses and pesto. Puree’ the soup with a Thunder Stick or in a blender. Once the mixture is pureed, add the half-n-half, stirring it and mixing it well. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to marry and the bisque to thicken. Salt to taste.
Serve hot, garnished with shredded cheese on top and cheese straws. A side salad makes a nice accompaniment. I like to leave the bisque chunky (with the basil and tomato skins inside). You can opt to strain it although I find it loses some of its character and flavor. It’s a delicious meal perfect for a chilly day. Makes 20 servings so you can feed a large group or save some for lunch! It would be perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich! Mmmmm.