Chilled Heirloom Tomato Soup with Ricotta, Basil Pesto, and Pine Nuts

During the summer, I grow most of our organic heirloom tomatoes for Claire’s. And every year I expand the gardens because of recipes like this one, where the quality of the tomatoes is integral to the flavor. This year I hope to exceed my record of producing 3,000 pounds of tomatoes!

Make this pretty and absolutely delicious soup straight from the garden or the farm and enjoy the glorious bounty of the season.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 10 large, assorted locally grown heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4 large leaves basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese, preferably hand-packed
  • ¾ cup basil pesto, fresh or a good store-bought variety
  • ¼ cup toasted Pine Nuts

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook for about 1 minute, stirring frequently until softened. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, basil leaves, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes are soft and have given off much of their liquid. Remove from the heat.
  2. Turn into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Cover and process for about 20 seconds until blended. Taste for seasonings. Pour into a bowl and set aside until the mixture reaches room temperature, then refrigerate for a couple of hours until chilled; you may refrigerate overnight if desired.
  3. To serve, ladle 1 cup of soup into each of six shallow rimmed bowls. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of ricotta in the center of each bowl. Spoon 2 tablespoons of pesto on top of the ricotta in each bowl. Scatter several toasted Pine Nuts evenly over the soup.

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