Scrumptious Italian Tomato Vegetable Soup

Andy Anderson !


I usually reserve soup and stew recipes for Autumn; however, that doesn’t mean that I can’t experiment… even in the heat of Summer.

As a matter of fact, cooking Autumn fare in the Summer, makes me dream of cooler days to come. I DO love Autumn.

This is a variation on a recipe that my Aunt Josephine used to make for us on cold Winter nights in Chicago.

After coming in from playing in the snow, this soup would warm us up from our tummies to the tips of our fingers, and toes.

So, you ready... Let’s get into the kitchen.

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★★★★★ 3 votes
15 Min
45 Min
Stove Top


14 oz
canned diced plum tomatoes, or an equivalent measure of fresh plum tomatoes
2 Tbsp
olive oil, extra virgin
1 medium
yellow onion, roughly chopped, about 6 ounces
2 medium
shallots, finely diced, about 1/2 ounce
4 oz
white or brown button mushrooms, stems removed and diced, about 1/2 inch
4 medium
red or golden potatoes, skin on, diced (1/2 inch), about 6 ounces
1 large
carrot, diced (1/2 inch), about 6 ounces
3 medium
celery sticks, diced (1/2 inch), about 4 ounces
2 Tbsp
tomato paste
2 Tbsp
4 c
chicken stock, not broth, and freshly made, if possible
1 tsp
dried thyme
1 tsp
dried basil
1 tsp
dried oregano
1 pinch
cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 Tbsp
raw honey
salt, kosher variety, to taste
black pepper, freshly ground, to taste


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1Family History: It’s a cold day in Chicago, and as the Winter sun begins its early race to the horizon, like an old plough horse anxious to return to the barn.

We trundle back to my Aunt Josephine’s home.

In the mudroom we’re instructed to take off our coats, gloves, and boots. I’ve been outside most of the afternoon, playing in the snow. We made snow forts, and had snowball fights with the neighbor’s kids.

I’m covered in wet snow from head-to-foot, and I shake it off in much the same way our dog might shake off water after an unauthorized swim in the pond. My fingertips and toes are numb from the cold; but I don’t care, it’s been a fun day.

We’re ushered into the great room where an inviting fire is roaring in the main fireplace, and I warm my extremities by the crackling fire.

But I smell something coming from the kitchen… It’s Aunt Josephine’s soup, filling the air with its perfume.

I run to the kitchen… beating out all my competition.

There in the glow of the kitchen fireplace I see several loaves of homemade Italian bread, and a huge pot of Aunt Josephine’s soup… I am SO ready to eat.

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2Gather your ingredients.

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3Chef’s Note: If you are using fresh tomatoes, then blanch, peel, and cut into quarters.

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4Chef’s Note: If you can get fresh tomatoes that’s brilliant; however, it’s kind of hard to get fresh tomatoes in the middle of Winter.

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5Add the olive oil to a large soup pot, over medium heat.

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6When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onions and shallots.

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7Stir continuously until the onions begin to soften, but not brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.

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8Add the mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, and celery.

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9Chef’s Note: Make sure you thoroughly wash your veggies before adding them to the pot. That’s common sense, but sometimes forgotten.

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10Stir for an additional 5 minutes, or until veggies begin to release their moisture.

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11Chef’s Note: At no time in this process should you allow the veggies to brown.

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12Add the tomato paste, and ketchup,

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13Stir to combine.

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14Add the chicken stock and tomatoes.

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15Stir to combine.

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16Chef’s Tip: If you want to make this vegetarian, you could use some good vegetable stock, or even plain filtered water.

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17Add the thyme, basil, oregano, cayenne, and honey.

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18Stir to combine.

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19Chef’s Tip: If the temps are really hitting rock bottom, you just might want to add a bit more cayenne… just a suggestion.

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20Chef’s Note: The cayenne is what brings the warmth to this soup.

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21Cover, and let simmer for 45 minutes.

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22Every 15 minutes, open the lid and give it a stir, and then taste. Add additional salt and/or pepper, if needed.

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23Chef’s Note: Remember that salting a dish at the end makes it taste salty… salting while cooking makes it tastes seasoned.

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24Garnish with some thinly sliced mushrooms, and maybe a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (why not). Enjoy.

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25Enjoy around a fire pit or the fireplace on a cold evening when the the snow is gently falling out of a cold gray sky.
Remember: Friends don't let friends eat alone.

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26Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

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