My grandmother, with whom I share the same middle name, used to sing a little song to me when I was little prior to tickling me with her fingers (which posed as a bee), "There once was a bee who lived in a tree; and all he could do was bzzzzz sting, sting, sting sting...." (then the tickling ensued).

This site is in memory of her and the warmth all grandmothers and mothers give in making good food and creating memories in the kitchen.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cafe Zupa's Tomato Basil Copycat Recipe

  • 1 1/4 cup Pesto sauce from Costco
  • 5 1/2 cups diced/ stewed tomatoes - three 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup diced onion
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp sugar (cuts down on acidity)
  • 1 1/3 cup half and half or 1 12-oz. can of evaporated milk
  • Orzo pasta


Set crockpot on high so that it can begin warming up while you assemble the soup. If you don't want to use a crockpot, feel free to use a saucepan instead. 

Wash and slice vegetables. 

In a frying pan (or just use the saucepan if you're not using a crockpot) melt butter over medium-high heat. 

Add in onion and celery. Cook until vegetables soften, about 5-8 minutes. 

Transfer to the crockpot and add in all remaining ingredients, except the cream. At this point the soup doesn't look very pretty. Don't worry- it will cook down and all the veggies will meld together. 

Crockpot: Cook on high 6-7 hours total

After soup has cooked for most of the time, I then use an immersion blender to get rid of the remaining chunks of vegetables. 

After it's smooth, return to pot and cook for the remaining time~ I generally blend it about an hour before serving. 

During this last step, cook orzo pasta.

Just before serving add the half and half or milk. 

Add cooked orzo ENJOY!

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