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Eye-Popping Soup

A bowl of hot tomato soup will leave you cold if it stares back.




  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 quart homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
  • 3 sprigs oregano or marjoram
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 pitted black Kalamata olives
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 fresh chives, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound (about 30) bocconcini (bite-size mozzarella balls)
  • 1 jar small pimiento-stuffed olives


  1. Step 1

    Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes.

  2. Step 2

    Add wine, and cook until most liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, stock, and oregano, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer gently until thickened, about 45 minutes.

  3. Step 3

    Using a slotted spoon, remove herbs. Puree soup in small batches until smooth. Return to pan, and slowly pour in half-and-half, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Step 4

    Meanwhile, make the bugs: Use a toothpick to pierce each Kalamata olive 4 times (all the way through to other side). Insert a rosemary leaf into each hole to make eight legs. Insert two pieces of chive into the small hole at the end of the olive to make antennae.

  5. Step 5

    Make the eyeballs: Using a small melon baller, scoop out a hole from each bocconcini. Have each pimiento-stuffed olive crosswise. Place a half, cut side out, in the hole in each bocconcini to make eyeballs.

  6. Step 6

    Ladle hot soup into shallow bowls. Float 4 or 5 eyeballs in soup, and place a bug on rim of each bowl.

Halloween 2004, October 2004



Reviews (7)

  • Suzie the Foodie 29 Oct, 2011

    Soup was very easy to make and I like that it was allowed to reduce and develop to deepen the flavour. For my food photography, I avoided adding the cream because I wanted that bright red colour but afterwards I added some. I also added some Worcestershire sauce, a bay leaf and red pepper flakes because I like a ton of flavour. The eyeballs were fantastic! To add even more 3D, I added a drop of Sriracha hot sauce on top. Loved it!

  • Melonknee1127 20 Oct, 2010

    You could make eye balls out of red radishes. Peel them leaving a little bit of red and they look blood shot.

  • fanodanes 10 Oct, 2010

    I used 3/4 to a cup of half-and-half since I like a creamer soup. Mozzarella balls melt in piping hot soup. Be sure to serve "eyeballs" in a shallow bowl as suggested otherwise they sink below the soup's surface. This is a tasty soup--nice with a sandwich.

  • emilybear78 23 Dec, 2008

    Does anyone know where to purchase the bite size balls of mozz., or if not, how to create the effect using alternate ingredients?

  • PartyGirlHeather 27 Oct, 2008

    Half-n-half is technically half milk, half cream. Lots of people use it in coffee and other recipes that require a rich

  • lil_lilou 25 Oct, 2008

    I just wanted to know what does "half-and half" refer to...? Maybe I will try this recipe because it looks really nice :p and i like tomato soup too. Is it hard to make ?

  • lil_lilou 25 Oct, 2008

    I just wanted to know what does "half-and half" refer to...? Maybe I will try this recipe because it looks really nice :p and i like tomato soup too. Is it hard to make ?