Luckily, the recipe was very simple and my daughter was willing to make it for me while I supervised in a nearby chair. She didn't like chopping the onion because it made her cry, but she enjoyed prepping the rest. She seemed to take great enjoyment in stirring the pot and adding the rice (like she is in the picture below). She was really interested in how much liquid the rice absorbed and how thick the soup became. It was a tasty lesson for her and one that the rest of the family enjoyed.
We served Olivia's Tomato and Rice Soup with a dollop of pesto and Parmesan cheese. On the side, some fresh toasted bread with a Parmesan Pesto butter. It was a delicious reminder that teenagers can indeed be sweet from time to time.
Tomato Soup with Rice & Pesto
Recipe adapted from Deb @ Kahakai Kitchen
Originally from Recipes and Dreams From An Italian Life
by Tessa Kiros
5 tablespoons oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
1-3/4 lbs very ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
12-15 basil leaves or pesto
5 cups hot water
1 scant cup short-grain white rice
Parmesan cheese for serving
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and saute the onion until nicely golden and a bit sticky. Add the garlic and when it smells great, add the tomatoes. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Tear in about seven of the basil leaves and simmer for about 5 minutes or so, squashing down most of the tomato lumps with a potato masher. Add the hot water and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.
Add the rice and simmer for another 20 minutes or so, putting the lid on at the end to prevent too much liquid from evaporating. It should be quite thick, but if it seems too thick just add a little hot water. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Serve in wide bowls. Tear a couple of basil leaves in half, or top with swirls of pesto, and add to each bowl. Scatter a heaping tablespoon or so of Parmesan over each and drizzle with a little olive oil. Grind a little black pepper over the top and serve.