Over the past couple of weekends, my husband and I have been poring over Ina’s cookbooks (more on this later). This is a first for him, but not so much for me. At one point in his perusal, he remarked, “These are all of our dinners!”
Astute observation, honey.
Our most recent Barefoot Contessa dinner was her tomato and orzo soup with grilled cheese croutons. I first enjoyed it on a lunch date with my longtime friend Sarah, and was so pumped to find I had all the ingredients I needed (save for saffron) to make it at home. It was on the table only two evenings later.
To make soup for 4, you will need:
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3 cups yellow onions, chopped fine (2 onions)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
Large pinch of saffron threads
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup orzo
1/2 cup heavy cream
Grilled Cheese Croutons (see below)
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes, saffron, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a medium pot with water, add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for 7 minutes. (It will finish cooking in the soup.) Drain the orzo and add it to the soup. Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.
Serve hot with Grilled Cheese Croutons scattered on top. This is a simple as making your favorite grilled cheese, and cutting it into bite-sized pieces.