Burst Tomato, Roasted Broccolini, and Mushroom Noodle Soup
With an assortment of dried Oyster and Shiitake Mushrooms and the most beautiful basket of rainbow colored cherry tomatoes I’ve ever seen, I set my heart on a beautiful pot of soup. Any excuse for soup. I think no other food can hug the soul and lift the spirits like a simple bowl of homemade soup.
So to start, I of course had to reconstitute the mushrooms, which I did by adding them to a medium-sized bowl of boiling water. I allowed them to soak in the water about 20-30 minutes. While the mushrooms plumped up in their hot bath, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and poured about a tablespoon of EVOO (that’s a Rachael Ray-ism for you who don’t know and it stands for Extra Virgin Olive Oil) into a medium hot skillet and browned a couple of garlic scapes, removed them from the pan, and set them aside. To the same skillet I added about a tablespoon combined of dried oregano, basil, and rosemary and let the herbs further flavor the oil a bit before adding in the beautiful cherry tomatoes.
Now, I wanted to burst the tomatoes in the hot oil before adding them to the soup. So, I did not chop the tomatoes but rather added them to the skillet whole. I think bursting the tomatoes and then adding them to the soup adds such a flare to the dish that simple chopped and tossed in tomatoes can not compete with. It adds an extra step but oh does it add a whole other world of flavor. So, I say go for it and burst those tomatoes!
While the tomatoes were happily bursting away, I prepped my brocollini by rinsing them of course and then trimming off and removing the leaves from the stems. On an aluminum lined baking sheet I placed the broccolini, drizzled them with EVOO, and a light sprinkle of kosher salt before giving them a quick toss and placing them in the oven to roast about 15 minutes.
Roasting vegetables is a favorite of mine and I prepare vegetables with this cooking method often. But, please feel free to skip the roasting step and simply chop and toss the broccolini into the soup probably about 10 minutes before serving depending on how much crunch you like to preserve. Once the broccolini was roasted to my liking, I removed them and allowed them to cool and then along with the garlic scapes did a rough chop and set them aside to later add to my soup.
By this time, the mushrooms had reconstituted. So, I removed them with a slotted spoon, strained the soaking water, and added the strained mushroom water to my stock pot and brought it up to a boil along with two cups of water and two veggie bouillon cubes. Once the broth was boiling, I lowered the heat to maintain a soft simmer and added to the broth the burst tomatoes, the chopped garlic scapes, and the mushrooms which I had sliced. I allowed the pot of all things fabulous to simmer softly for about twenty minutes. Then, I increased the heat and brought it all back to a boil before adding in a generous handful of the Homemade Vegetable Mix Noodles I keep on hand, that I picked up at my favorite farmer’s market back in Newark, DE on our last pass through the area. The noodles I then cooked about twelve minutes because Amy prefers her pasta on the over-done side and I aim to please. To bring the soup all together, I stirred in a can of Cannellini beans I had rinsed well and allowed to drain in a colander and the chopped roasted broccolini. I then let the soup rest covered about ten minutes before serving.
To serve, I ladled the soup in a bowl and garnished with a bit of fresh basil the bugs saved for me from my little garden and a light dusting of freshly grated Pecorino Romano Cheese. And the soup was just fabulous with all its layers of flavors and fresh ingredients.
This beautiful soup, without fail, most definitely hugged my soul and my soul really needed and appreciated its hug.