Fresh homemade pasta

I’ve been on a fresh homemade pasta kick lately. That’s because I just bought a Mercato Atlas Wellness 150 pasta maker (yes, it’s made in Italy). I’ve been wanting to try my own hand at pasta-making at home, and Luca from this season’s ”MasterChef” recommended me this particular brand, saying he’d gotten it as a wedding gift and loved it.

Atlas Pasta Machine
And now, I do too. The hubster’s eyes brighten every time I bring the pasta maker out of the closet because, well, being a guy, he likes anything mechanical. So it’s nice to have such an eager helper in the kitchen while making pasta. So far, I’ve made two types of pasta: a mushroom duxelle stuffed ravioli topped with a white wine tomato and basil sauce; and angel hair with shrimp, garlic, tomato, and white wine sauce. (We’ve had an influx of tomatoes in our garden this summer, so I’ve been constantly putting them in my pasta dishes.)

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Roasted tomato basil soup

Since our wedding in May, our house has filled with nice things for cooking and dining. From now on, instead of agonizing over what gift to get, I’ve decided to utilize the new spiffy kitchenware and dinnerware and practice cooking at the same time by hosting dinner for friends in celebration of their birthdays.

The first two lucky friends were Jade and Uyen (and their husbands), who happened to make up 1/3 of my bridal party. I don’t really know what I got myself into because Jade and Patrick are both the biggest foodies I know, Uyen loves to eat, and her husband Brent is the chef in their kitchen. I was facing my most judgmental critics, and to make things worse, I woke up the night before from an anxiety dream in which I forgot to bake the dessert.

Nonetheless, I began preparing the food a day ahead by making the soup and mixing the custard for the dessert. On the day of the dinner, I planned to make the entree, bake the dessert, and reheat the soup right before guests arrive.

So here is the first of three courses. (Stay tuned for the others.) I got the recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. But because my culinary skills are intermediate, of course I botched things here and there. What I did to remedy the recipe and tweak it according to my taste buds are noted in the “variations” section of the recipe. (I won’t be afraid to admit my mistakes–after all, that’s why I’m the Blind Cook and not the Blind Chef. I will, however, note where I went wrong and offer what I tried in order to fix the recipe.)

Recipe: Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Summary: Original recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook


  • 3 lbs. roma tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 c. & 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1.5 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups basil leaves, packed
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 (28 oz.) can roma tomatoes with juice
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 4 c. water


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss tomato halves with 1/4 c. olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in a single layer on baking sheet, and roast for 45 minutes.
  2. In a 8-qt. stockpot, saute onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in 2 tbsp. olive oil and 2 tbsp. butter over low heat for 10 minutes or until onion is browned.
  3. Add basil, thyme, canned tomatoes, chicken stock, and water. Add roasted tomatoes with all the juices from the baking sheet. Bring to boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.
  4. Pass through a food mill and adjust seasoning. Serve hot or cold.


Since it was hard to find all 32 oz. of basil at the store, I ended up cutting the recipe in half except I used the same amount of canned tomatoes. I also forgot to tear the leaves off the basil stems, and so the soup smelled super herbal. This called for some major readjustment. I ended up resimmering the soup after pushing it through a food processor and adding the following:

  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 1 & 1/2 sticks butter
  • more salt & pepper to taste
  • a splash of chicken stock

Cooking time (duration): 100

Diet type: Vegetarian

Meal type: supper

Culinary tradition: French

Microformatting by hRecipe.

And remember that if the Blind can Cook it, then so can you.

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