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 cloves garlic
- ½ cup basil leaves, chopped, plus additional for serving
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 28-ounces crushed tomatoes
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- ¾ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
- 2 eggs
- 1 ⅓ cup all purpose flour (or a split of all purpose and wheat)
- Mince 4 cloves garlic. Chop ½ cup basil leaves.
- In a large pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and one pinch red pepper flakes; sauté about 1 minute, until just starting to brown. Add canned tomatoes and their liquid, 3 cups vegetable broth, chopped basil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 7 to 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine 1 cup ricotta cheese, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, 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.
- Thinly slice (chiffonade) a few extra basil leaves, and grate some Parmesan cheese. Serve the soup warm garnished with basil and Parmesan.