Joe's Italian is one of those mom and pop places where you are always guarenteed a great authentic Italian meal. My go to food, everytime I go to Joe's might be surprising to you, considering all of the rich and delicious Italian dished. My favorite is their Tomato Basil Soup. And I am not alone! It's one of their best sellers.
Today, I am stepping out of the box a bit and sharing an article in the Birmingham News about Joe's that ran with the recipe for my favorite, Tomato Basil Soup.
And Life just became that much sweeter. Beleive me.
(Pictures by Leigh)
Tomato Basil Soup
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
4 cups ground tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream or half & half
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1. Melt the butter with the oil over low heat in a heavy bottom pot.
2. Add the onion; wilt over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic during the last 2 minutes, stirring.
3. Add the tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover; cook over medium-low heat for 60 minutes. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper.
4. Add basil. Stir in the cream or half & half, simmer for another 30 minutes.
5.Garnish with fresh basil before serving.
Note: When tomatoes are in-season use fresh tomatoes, blanch for 8 minutes and process with food processor. In the winter, use a San Marzano-type canned tomato, drain half of the liquid and process in food processor.
Recipe for Tomato Basil Soup from Joe's Italian Pizza, Pasta & Caffe
By Special to The Birmingham News
February 12, 2010, 4:02PM
by Lynn Grisard Fullman
Joe's Italian Pizza, Pasta & Caffe,
21 Weatherly Club Drive, Alabaster;
'Mama and Papa are there to serve you and make sure that everyone is having a great time," Nicole Creuzer of Birmingham reported when requesting the recipe for tomato-basil soup that is served at Joe's Italian Pizza, Pasta & Caffe in Alabaster. "It is divine!" she said of the soup. The restaurant's president, Sonia Bertolone, was not surprised by the interest in the soup that sells for $4.95 for a bottomless bowl and $3.25 for a cup. "I could drink it with a straw," she admitted, explaining that the soup is made from a recipe that belongs to her mother, Elvira Bertolone.
With the addition of cream, Sonia and her brother, Michael, "have taken the recipe to the next level," she said, explaining that her parents owned a restaurant in California for 28 years before selling it in 2007 and moving to Alabama. Served daily, the soup "is delicious," Sonia said, adding that the restaurant daily sells hundreds of orders of the soup.
Lasagna is the most popular entree served at the eatery that specializes in traditional food "like you get in Italy," Sonia noted, explaining that her parents, who work alongside her at the restaurant, often travel to their roots in Italy. Family meals-to-go, including lasagna for four with salad, bread and soup ($24.95), also are available. With seating for 110 and with two-and-a-half hour waits not uncommon on Friday and Saturday nights, Joe's Pizza, Pasta & Caffe is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Not to worry should you have to wait on weekend nights. Pagers are offered, and Italian water (red wine and Sprite) and focaccia are served. Some nights, to the delight of customers, Sonia's mother even dances. No wonder the restaurant has become a favorite place for customers to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions.
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