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
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ladle hot soup into shallow bowls. Float 4 or 5 eyeballs in soup, and place a bug on rim of each bowl.