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IMG_3005Winter is fast approaching here in the Dordogne and the days are much shorter and cooler. It does not snow here, at least not very often. The last decent snow was about 5 years ago according to the locals and that was real snow, 5 days where many could not leave home, no power, no heat, due to the lines down. We do not get snow here so when we do, we are not quite prepared to deal with it. Very different from the time I lived in Denmark for 18 months. But, I like to think my pantry is well stocked to withstand me not being able to leave for at least 10 to 14 days; my husband would argue that it is stocked to keep us going for at least a month. But, I would need heat and gas and electricity.

One of the meals that I might make is this soup. Great tasting and easy. Plus the gnocchi gives this soup some real substance. In a very comfort-food-like way. Which also helps with the cold. Now, all I need is snow….

Serves 4


30 ml / 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
Tomatoes, 2 x 410 g cans of chopped tomatoes
5 tablespoons tomato paste or 1 x 80 g can
100 ml dry white wine
1 tablespoon sugar
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon, preferably organic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Basil, about 1/2 cup, fresh and roughly chopped
500 ml vegetable bouillon
Parmesan, freshly grated

500 g / 1 lb floury potatoes, baked and cooled (see below)
30 g / 1/4 cup flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten


To bake the potato, using a fork, prick the skin of the potato all over
Wrap the potato in foil and bake at 175 C /350 F until tender, about 1 hour
Cut the baked potato in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; discard the skin
Using a fork mash the potato and salt together until smooth (better yet, use a potato ricer) you want it to be as smooth as possible
Mix in 3 tablespoons of the egg (reserve the remaining egg for another use or discard)
Sprinkle the flour over the potato mixture
Stir until the mixture forms a dough
Knead until smooth, about 1 minute
On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces
Roll each piece between your palms and the work surface into a 1 cm / 1/2″ diameter rope (about 50 cm  / 20″ long)
Cut the dough into 2 cm / 1″ pieces
Roll each piece of dough over a wooden paddle with ridges or over the back of a fork to form grooves in the dough
Set aside

tomato soup

Heat the oil, over medium heat, in a large casserole or pot
Add the onion and cook until soft but not coloured
Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, sugar, lemon rind and juice
salt, pepper, basil and bouillon
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes
Allow to cool slightly then purée it using an immersion blender (or a food processor for a smoother texture)
Return the soup to the heat
Add the gnocchi to the soup and cook until they rise to the surface of the soup (this will indicate that they are cooked)
Ladle the soup in warmed soup plates or bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan