Tomato Bisque Soup with Orzo

Oct 10, 2012

One of my favorite things about the cooler weather is the reappearance of soups in the menu again. Soups are so versatile and usually quite simple. They're warm and comforting on chilly days. And they're also perfect for dipping fresh crispy bread - which is always a good thing.

This soup is so flavorful. It is extra tomato-y and wonderfully creamy.

A warning: This soup is also very addicting. My family polished this off in a matter of hours one afternoon... for, you know, that meal between lunch and dinner...

A huge thanks to our wonderful neighbor and friend, Michelle, for sharing this fantastic soup recipe! 

Notes: You could leave the orzo out of this soup, if you don't have any on hand, but I would strongly advise against doing such a thing. (Pasta makes just about everything better, IMHO.) Also, be sure to taste the soup as you're finishing it up to know if it needs any additional sugar or salt. Enjoy!

Adapted from Michelle's recipe
Tomato Bisque Soup with Orzo  

1/2 pound whole-wheat orzo pasta
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1 medium onion, diced
sea salt
4 cloves garlic, pressed
8 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
2-3 cups water (or vetetable/chicken broth)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3-4 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt it, then add the orzo. Cook just until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 2 cups of the cooking water. Set pasta and water aside in separate bowls.

In a large soup pot, heat butter over medium heat until melted and hot. Add the celery, carrots, onion, and a generous heap of salt. Cook the vegetables, stirring often, until just tender. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, orzo cooking water, 2 cups water (or broth), tomato paste, basil, oregano, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Let the soup simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Working in batches, transfer the soup to a high-powered blender. Puree until very smooth, then return to pan. (You can also puree the soup right in the pot with an immersion blender, if preferred. I find that this doesn't get the soup quite as smooth as a stand blender does.) Add 3 teaspoons sugar, the cream, and the cooked orzo. Taste and add additional water (or broth), sugar, and salt as needed. Heat through, then serve with a little freshly ground black pepper to garnish.

Yield: Serves 6-8          

This post shared on The Nourishing Gourmet and Beyond the Peel

11 friendly note(s):

  1. This is beautiful! Love the look of this soup :)

    1. Thank you! I hope that you get a chance to try it!

  2. You seriously need to make another pot of this. Right. Now.

  3. orzo is a brilliant addition to the traditional tomato bisque... fabulous!

  4. Do you de-seed and peel the tomatoes?

    1. Good question. No, there is no need to de-seed or peel the tomatoes. Tomato seeds actually pack a ton of flavor. The peel as well as the seeds are no matter in the soup because you puree it to a smooth consistency in the end anyway.

  5. I made this today for lunch and it was incredible! I used chicken stock for the broth and I didn't have any Orzo, so I used 12 ounces (dry) of Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Israeli couscous which worked out just as well. I didn't use all of the couscous though, I had 1/3 of it left over (which is good, so I can use it to make the Broccoli Pesto Orzo with Lemon & Avocado). The soup was perfectly balanced and we will be having it again tomorrow night for dinner, with a light insalata mista and... maybe in a Panera Sourdough bread bowl... Yum!

    1. I am so glad that you enjoyed this soup as we do! It's a really great recipe. Thanks for reporting back on how you liked it. The couscous sounds like it would be a good sub for orzo. I think you'll enjoy the Broccoli Pesto Orzo (or couscous :), too!

  6. Really easy appetizers, but I altered the recipe a bit.

    1. I'm glad you could find some inspiration from this recipe and that it turned out well!


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