As comforting to make as it was to eat. I feel that I should include some sort of instructions/recipe at this point. I start with one of my new faves, a huge, industrial sized can of peeled roma tomatoes, straight from Italy via Costco. (How do they get them here and sell them for a mere $3.00?) You can turn this can of ruby red goodies into almost anything, and believe me, I am trying. The entire can is poured into a large stockpot and I heat them slowly for about 30 minutes. While they are heating, I rinsed, chopped and sauteed; 2 leeks, 1 white onion, 3 ribs of celery and 5 assorted rainbow color carrots. No need to worry about them being a uniform size, more on that later. When the veggies are soft and the onions that beautiful milky, translucent white, I add 3 cloves of garlic,some sea salt and coursely ground pepper to taste, cooking the mixture about 5 more minutes. By this time, the romas are nicely heated, time to add the veggies. Let them all simmer together another 15 minutes or so, then, puree with an immersion blender to the consistency you desire. To this I then add 2 boxes of organic chicken broth. While this comes back up to a simmer, I clean and chop shiitake and white mushrooms. I love the earthy smell of the shiitakes. They are then sauteed in olive oil with a bit of thyme until they begin to give off their juices. To enhance them, at the last minute I added a shot or so of brandy, then pour them in with the tomatoes. Lentils, washed and picked over go in as well, partially cover and cook til the lentils soften. The smell is overwhelming, and just as I hoped, enveloped the entire house.
Bill arrives for lunch, just in time for the lentils to have finished cooking. The warm, woodsy smell of the soup is tantalizing to us both. I ladle it into the shallow bowls and top each with a generous amount of shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.
My version of grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup!