I skipped over the recipe for this soup (from New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant) for years, figuring anything this simple (gosh! you don't even have to chop any onions!) couldn't be much good. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I needed to get some dinner made fast and didn't have much in the house except basic pantry staples. It took less than twenty minutes, start to finish, to get this put together, and the garbanzo beans and (optional) cheese garnish made it substantial enough to work as a light meal.
Serves six, or thereabouts
Mince four to six cloves of garlic and saute them in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil very briefly–no more than a minute. Add a tablespoon or so of sweet Hungarian paprika and cook, stirring, for just a few more seconds. You really don't want the paprika to scorch or your lovely soup will taste nasty.
Add roughly 56 ounces of canned tomatoes, pureed fairly smooth in a food processor or blender. The type and cut of tomatoes don't really matter very much. I like using part tomatoes with green chiles, but if you're not a fan of hot food you can use plain tomatoes alone. Tonight, I used a big can of whole peeled tomatoes and one fourteen-ounce can each of regular diced tomatoes and toms-with-chiles. Stir in 1/2 cup dry sherry and two cans of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained. Simmer for five to ten minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.*
Top each bowl with a generous sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese and some chopped scallions (or flat-leaf parsley, which I used last time, but out of which we freshly were this time). It is beyond cliched to say "serve with crusty bread and a green salad," but the bite of a nice vinaigrette really balances out this soup beautifully, and of course soup without bread is like a day without sunshine.
* My whole life, I've been reading "add salt and pepper to taste," and somehow it only dawned on me relatively recently that tasting, and then tasting again, and maybe one more time just prior to serving, was really the best way to go about doing this.