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Winter Tomato Garlic Macaroni Soup

1 or 2 bulbs garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
2 large, 3 medium or 4 small yellow onions
2 leeks, white part only
2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, butter or a mixture of oil and butter
26 oz. box Pomi chunky tomatoes or chopped tomatoes, (or 1 can plum tomatoes)
1 or 2 dried ancho peppers (optional)
1 quart tomato broth
1 quart chicken broth (or vegetable broth or water)
6 cups water
sea salt
8 oz. macaroni
parmesan cheese (optional)

Divide garlic cloves into three piles. Mince onions with one third
of the garlic cloves (I use a food processor). Heat oil or butter
in large (6 quart or more) pot and saute onion and garlic until
soft but not brown. Slice leeks thinly with another third of the
garlic cloves (I use the food processor again, with a #2 slicing
disk, but any slicing disk works fine, as does a knife), and add
to the pot. Saute until soft. Remove the stem and seeds from the
ancho peppers. Add the tomatoes, broths and water to the pot; then
add the herbs and ancho peppers. (I always have cheesecloth around,
so I usually chop up the fresh herbs and put them with the dried
ancho pepper in a piece of cheesecloth that I tie up like a bag;
this makes it easy to fish the herbs and ancho out at the end,
which makes the soup prettier.) Bring to a boil, cover the pot,
lower the heat and simmer for two hours until the onion and leek
have pretty well melted into the soup. If fishing the herbs and
ancho pepper out of the soup isn't too messy, do it now. Slice
the reserved garlic very very thinly, and add to the soup pot.
Add water if it has gotten too thick. Simmer covered, for 30

If you are going to save the soup and serve it tomorrow, stop here,
cool and refrigerate it. Otherwise, keep going. 10 minutes before
serving, uncover the pot, taste the soup, season with salt and
pepper and bring to a rolling boil. Add the macaroni, and cook
for a couple minutes less than you usually would, because you aren't
going to drain it. Or, cook the macaroni separately and add it
just before you ladle the soup into bowls. Grate a little parmesan
cheese over the top, if you like.

NOTE: Tomato broth: for one quart of tomato broth, chop four
pounds or more or fresh or canned plum tomatoes (or use 4 lbs of
Pomi tomatoes in the box, which come already chopped), and put in
a 4 quart pot with 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh
basil, 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, and 1 Tablespoon chopped
fresh rosemary. Bring just to a boil, stirring, and then strain
immediately through a fine mesh strainer (stirring the mixture from
time to time with a wire whisk will help it get through the strainer.)


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