This soup is gooooooood! And you don’t even need to do the mozzarella balls, it’s good without them! In fact, those mozzarella balls gave me a little bit of trouble! You bake them on a baking rack, and some of mine oozed through to the bottom! Not sure what I did wrong there. In any case, this is a delicious soup! Note, this says it only makes 2 bowls, so I tripled this recipe at home.
Creamy Tomato Soup with Baked Mozzarella Balls
makes 2 bowls of soup
1/2 of a 14.5oz can of tomato sauce [pureed tomatoes]
1/2 of a 15oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 an onion, diced [approx 1.5 cups]
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 Tbsp grape seed or olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, smashed and minced
1 stalk of celery, diced [approx 4 Tbsp]
5 baby carrots, chopped
3 ounces cream cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp freeze dried basil [or fresh] plus extra to garnish
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3-4 cubes of mozzarella cheese
1 egg white, whisked
1/4 cup flour [or a little less]
approx 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning blend [like Ms Dash]
The first order of business is to cube/ball your mozzarella into one-inch cubes. In order to survive the baking process, they’ll need to be frozen. Place them on a plate, spaced, and pop them in the freezer. The key here is to prevent them from all sticking together from moisture… otherwise you’ll need to take a hammer to the frozen block of cheese. Once they’ve hardened, move them over to a freezer baggie and continue the freezing process. I usually keep them no less than 4-5 hours in the freezer – though overnight is always better. Preheat oven to 425F. Keep mozzarella cubes frozen until you have everything set up and ready to go! Combine seasoning blend and panko in a shallow bowl, and egg white and flour into separate bowls as well. Next, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a wire cooling/baking rack.Grab your mozzarella from the freezer and prepare to be amazed at how easy this is. Dip the frozen cheese in the flour, then the egg, and finally roll around in panko to coat. Pop it on the wire rack and repeat for the remaining mozzarella cubes. Spray each ball with cooking spray and bake at 425 for approximately 10 minutes. When golden brown, remove from oven and serve atop a piping hot bowl of tomato soup.
Note: since our ovens march to the beat of their own drum, the balls could take anywhere from 8 minutes to 12 minutes.
Saute chopped onions, celery and carrots in 2 Tbsp oil until tender. Once tender, add garlic and saute for about a minute or so to bring out the flavor. Season with salt and pepper. Next add tomatoes, tomato sauce, cream cheese and broth and let simmer for 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have shacked up together. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, and the sugar, if needed. Next add your basil. If you’re using plain dried basil, start with 1/2 Tbsp and then slowly add more to taste. For freeze dried [its amazing, buy some!] or fresh you’ll want to toss in a Tbsp. Next, puree using a hand held immersion blender until fabulously smooth and bisque-like. Serve in soup bowls with a sprinkle of fresh basil on top. Serve piping hot topped with the mozz balls above.