Don’t you love ordering those creamy pasta dishes at italian restaurants? Well, I do…However most of them are more than 1000 calories each, packed with butter and heavy cream…and as a result they are very very heavy and caloric. So, since I am still on house arrest, and with many italian ingredients lying around I decided to create my own lighter version of a tomato-basil soup. If you want to cut even more calories from this version skip the pasta and puree the soup. I’ve done this for lunch and eaten it with a whole-wheat grilled cheese sandwich. To lighten up my soup, I replaced the butter with just 1 T of EVOO, used skim milk instead of heavy cream and didn’t add any extra cheese. Instead I decided to create a basil-cream cheese sauce to drizzle on top of the soup. I actually love the contrast between the red soup and the white sauce…I find that they do this in most up scale restaurants add a finishing sauce of some type on top of the soup to contrast the colors and flavors…I hope you enjoy my lighter version as much as I did. Make this during a cold Fall or Winter day, an italian date night with that special someone or pack those leftovers for lunch.
*For the tomato-basil soup:
1 small white onion, finely chopped
26.46 oz organic diced tomatoes, (I used the Pomi brand)
1 cup organic natural tomato sauce, (I used the Prego brand)
1.5 cups white wine
1 oz fresh basil, about 10-15 leaves
1 cup skim milk
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4-6 minced garlic cloves, depends on your liking
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tsp good quality italian seasoning
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 lb of Frozen Tomato & mozzarella stuffed raviolis, thawed (I used the Monterey brand from Costco)
*For the finishing sauce:
2 tbsp of reduced fat cream cheese
1 tbsp of skim milk
2 dashes of garlic powder
salt & pepper, 1 dash of each
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1. FOR THE SOUP:
Add the oil and cook the chopped onion for 3-5 min until it becomes transparent. Add the chopped tomatoes and basil. Mix well and let cook for 2 min.
2. Add the wine, sugar, garlic, coriander, italian seasoning and tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the soup cook in medium high heat until it begins to boil. This should take up to 10min.
3. Now switch to medium low heat. Add the thawed raviolis and let cook in the soup for 10min. Incorporate the milk into the soup and stir well. NOTE- do not leave the soup unattended! If you let this soup cook for too long instead of ending up with a lovely tomato-basil soup you will end up with some ravioli cooked in tomato sauce.
4. Meanwhile prep the BASIL-CREAM CHEESE FINISHING SAUCE:
Whisk all the sauce ingredients in a small mixing bowl until uniform. The cream cheese should be at room temperature for best results. If you forgot to do this just heat the cream cheese for 10 sec in the microwave.
5. TO SERVE: Scoop the soup into 4 separate bowls. Drizzle with the basil-cream cheese sauce on top. Serve with freshly toasted bread slices.
Servings: 4 main servings or 6 starter/appetizer soups.