(Yes, it is as delicious as it sounds.)
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
Just under a decade ago, I walked into my favourite restaurant, Jack Astor’s, and had a life-changing experience. See, at the time, I only ate the burgers or chicken wings at Jack’s, but little did I know, Mr. Astor had much more to offer. I tried what was, at the time, a “more adventurous” dish for me, the Parmesan (now Asiago) Chicken Bowties. I was with one of my elementary school friends whom I hadn’t seen in forever, and I remember that I wouldn’t shut up about how dang delicious it was, as a whole. In fact, I even remember when the waiter asked me “Are sundried tomatoes okay?,” I hesitated, because I wasn’t really a tomato fan at the time. Well, thank goodness I (somewhat begrudgingly) said yes, because, as aforementioned, my life will never be the same. What I’m about to share is, presumably, a fact that many would be embarrassed of, but not me. Jack Astor’s still remains, to this day, one of my favourite restaurants on the planet (top 3, for sure) and, that dish that was so different for me at the time has become my favourite dish of all time (fo realz, though). Good days, bad days and everything in between are instantly made better with a bowl of this perfection. I’ve been to Jack’s countless times since that fateful day, and I get it almost every single time I go. My friends make fun of me, but that’s fine, I don’t care. I’ll gladly be the one who always orders the same thing, because at least I know that I’ll love what I’m getting, whereas some of them are let down when their dish arrives (muahaha!). So what is it about this dish that makes it so spectacular? Is it the tender cheese-crusted chicken? Sure. The bowtie pasta tossed in that light, creamy alfredo? Probably. What sets this dish apart, though, are the sundried tomatoes (and…you know, the mountains of cheese I get them to put on top when it arrives… #noshame). No, your eyes do not deceive you. Sundried tomatoes make everything better.
Therefore, what do you get when you combine sundried tomatoes with simple ingredients and blend them all together? The best soup ever, duh! I was actually first introduced to the idea of a sundried tomato soup last summer, when Tim Hortons had a brief albeit lovely concoction of their own, but, having looked at the nutritional facts, my tummy turned. However, the other day, I started craving it hardcore, and right before I took to Twitter to share my woes, I suddenly thought, why don’t I just make my own!? I know what ingredients go into making a good soup, I know that the Tim’s version was creamy, but never too heavy or thick, and I had access to lots of tomatoes in my fridge (it was the same week that my friend Brooke & I made pizza from scratch). Plus, I could make my own, creamy version with less salt and a more personalized taste (read: with a bit of a kick, I like spicy food!). A bit of brainstorming and a messy kitchen later, I had this lovely soup, and trust me when I say, it’s too good not to share!
My favourite part about this recipe is that it’s not super complicated. I find that some websites or food blogs have lovely ideas and work up some great dishes, but they are so confusing to make! With this one, the most complicated thing you’ll be doing is drying the tomatoes (which, yes, I did myself in my oven), and you don’t even have to do that if you don’t want to! A jar of sundried tomatoes from the grocery store will work just as well with this recipe, and frankly, it is what I would have gone with if I didn’t have a plethora of tomatoes in the fridge.
As for the tomato drying, it’s traditionally done outdoors in sunny, warm weather (hence the name sun-dried), but as it is only spring and we don’t have blistering weather yet, I popped mine in the oven.
Just chop some tomatoes up, add some chopped oregano, salt & pepper & throw them in a hot oven and leave ’em for a few hours. Then, take them out, drizzle with a little EVOO, and put them back in the oven for a little while. It’s a lengthy process, but trust me when I say, homemade sundried tomatoes are better. They’ll look all shrivelled and dark, but they’ll certainly pack a punch and when used in this recipe, they’ll go into making some truly creamy deliciousness…
You won’t be able to resist! Oh, and the cheese crusts?
Ooey, gooey and oh-so-cheesy!! It’s the perfect compliment for a strong, flavourful dish like this! Mmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Alright, enough of the teasing, let’s get cookin’!
Creamy, but not too creamy, with subtle flavours that were practically made for each other, this dish is extraordinary. It’s simple, (somewhat) healthy (and much healthier than the Tim’s version), nutritious and very, very delicious! Let’s just say the leftovers didn’t last long in our house, haha! 🙂
I hope you enjoyed that recipe! You’ll have to let me know on my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (#RecipeRemix) if you give it a try! What are your favourite dishes to eat? Do you like sundried tomatoes? Have you ever made them yourself at home?
Happy (almost) Easter, folks!