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Let’s talk about one of my very favorite winter staples: soup.  For one thing, it’s so versatile.  Even if you literally just pick things out of your fridge (within reason, of course) and throw it in a pot with some broth, your soup will still be delicious.  I know.  I am quite adept at making clean-out-the-fridge soup.

But sometimes I just want something a little fancier than good old vegetable soup.  I want cheese and tomatoes and fragrant herbs and a million different kinds of dairy.  So you can imagine that when I stumbled upon this recipe I was ridiculously ecstatic.

Gorgonzola is one of life’s more interesting cheeses.  My relationship (yes, relationship!) with gorgonzola began in high school, on Cheese Day in my home ec class.  My teacher brought in at least twenty kinds of cheese, and I tried all of them—including the famous stinky feet cheese, limburger.  None of them was as delicious as gorgonzola.  It was tangy and sharp and laced through with blue and green and I was instantly smitten.

The problem with gorgonzola is, it’s definitely an acquired taste, and nobody else in my family had acquired it yet.  After my discovery of this glorious cheese, I had to wait more than a year before getting another chance to eat it.  The summer after my freshman year of college, I went to a restaurant and had a spring salad with strawberries and gorgonzola.  Although I’m still not sure how I feel about the combination of strawberries and gorgonzola (not that I have a problem with cheese and fruit, but strawberries?  Really?) this salad inspired me to make up my own.  And thus was born the most magical salad known to man (or at least to Amanda), the Gorgonzola Pear Salad.

But that’s not what I’m posting about.  I’m writing about soup, remember?  What I really want to talk about is the world’s most magical soup (add gorgonzola to anything for instant magic)—tomato gorgonzola soup.  This soup starts with a creamy, cheesy base, then blends with tomatoes to make a smooth, silky soup that will inspire you to eat gorgonzola for the rest of your life.

Not only is this soup absolutely delicious—if you like gorgonzola, which you all definitely SHOULD—it is also super easy to make.  If you can turn on a stove and use a blender, you can make this soup.  As for special equipment, you’ll need a blender or an immersion blender and a big sauce pan.  You will be able to convince all your friends that you spent hours slaving over the stove coaxing every last iota of flavor from the cheese and tomatoes, when really you just melt everything together and then throw it in a blender.  The ingredient list looks long, but I promise this soup is deceptively easy.

You’ll need:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 white onion (chopped)

3-4 cloves of garlic

½ teaspoon baking soda (this prevents the milk from curdling so don’t leave it out)

8 oz. low fat cream cheese

8 oz. gorgonzola

1 cup half and half

3 14.5 oz. cans fire-roasted tomatoes (salt-free)

2 cups low sodium tomato juice

½ teaspoon each of basil, oregano, and paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat the olive oil in your sauce pan over medium heat.  Sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is soft.
  2. Add the baking soda, the gorgonzola, the cream cheese, and the half and half.  Stir constantly until all the cheese has melted and you have a pot full of delicious cheesy joy.  Stirring occasionally, increase the heat a bit and cook the soup for a few minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, juice, and spices.  Cook until the tomatoes are kind of soft.
  4. Blend in small batches.  Put a towel over the blender before you even start blending—hot liquids have a nasty habit of creeping up and blowing off the lid when you blend them.  Once you’ve blended all the soup, put it back in the pot and return to heat for about 10 minutes.  Or you can just throw it in the fridge and reheat it whenever you want it.

See?  Ridiculously easy to make.  I made it for a dinner my parents were having with a few of their friends, and apparently it makes a good dipping soup for pizza—I can’t vouch for this, but it sure sounds good.  However, I can tell you that it’s perfect for dunking basic grilled cheese sandwiches.

Gorgonzola isn’t for everybody, but I hope you’ll give this soup a chance.  It’s the perfect soup for cold winter nights, and now that we’ve had another cold snap in the good old Midwest, there is very little I would like more than a hot cup of soup.

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