I first saw this soup recipe in a cookbook from my lovely mother-in-law (faithful reader and best cookbook saleswoman EVER!). It confused me a bit, to be honest. Basil is seasonal in the summer in Indiana, but who wants a hot soup in the middle of a hot summer season? Yet the thought of ricotta dumplings in a tomato soup sounded so intriguing that it stuck in my mind.
Luckily, we have fresh local basil at the Indy Winter Farmer’s Market in the middle of winter, thanks to Eden Farms and the wonders of hydroponic growing. We decided to use an upcoming dinner with dear friends as an excuse to pair local winter basil with a warming wintery soup.
What’s not to love about dumplings? They’re homey, comforting, and in the middle of savory tomato basil goodness, they’re like a deconstructed sort of pizza good enough to rival our original favorite “pizza soup“. The recipe is easy enough for a weeknight, but delicious enough to work for a special dinner. Even if you’re not able to find local basil at this season where you live, this one might even be worth a little splurge.
As we bide our time this winter, we’re feasting on soups like these, planning new ideas for this site (stay tuned for more on that soon), and tentatively pondering a way to wander back to the other side of the world (maybe?!). And, it’s not too soon to start thinking about our garden — it’s hard to believe, but planting season is just around the corner. It’s won’t be too long until we can plant some basil of our own :)
- 4 garlic cloves
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 3 cups veggie broth
- ½ cup basil leaves, chopped (plus more for a garnish)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 ⅓ cup flour (white flour, a split of white and wheat — or you could try gluten-free flour, though we haven’t tested this)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Finely dice the garlic. Chop the basil (enough for ½ cup). In a large pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and one pinch red pepper flakes; saute about 1 minute, until just starting to brown. Add tomatoes (undrained), 3 cups broth, chopped basil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 7 to 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine 1 cup ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, 2 eggs, 1 ⅓ cup flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper. Stir until a dough forms. Roll the dumplings into small balls (about 48). After the soup has simmered, place the dumplings in the soup and cook about 2 minutes until cooked through.
- Chiffonade a few extra basil leaves, and grate some Parmesan. Serve the soup warm garnished with basil and Parmesan.