This caramelised tomato & orzo soup is super creamy & hearty, with a gentle kick of chilli. Topped with parmesan, for a flavourful lunch!

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caramelised tomato & orzo soup

This is tomato soup taken to the next level!

Here we’re making a super creamy soup with caramelised tomato paste, a tin of good quality plum tomatoes & a good handful of orzo pasta. There’s some other tasty ingredients in there as well, that help the tomato flavour shine through!

Finished with a generous amount of parmesan, this is rich & hearty, with a gentle kick of chilli. Served with some fresh, homemade bread, this makes the perfect lunch.

What Is Orzo?

Orzo is a rice shaped pasta, made from semolina & is classed as a “pastina” (small pasta) due to its’ size. Orzo can be cooked & served like any other type of pasta but can also be cooked like a risotto or in soup. However you cook it, it’s best served al dente.

orzo pasta

Caramelising Tomato Paste

Caramelising tomato paste concentrates its’ flavour, which in turn makes our soup more flavourful. To caramelise, we stir the tomato paste into fried onion & garlic then cook until it darkens in colour. This will take around 5 minutes over a medium heat & will need to be stirred almost constantly to stop it burning.

Ingredient Notes

  • Tomatoes – We’re using two types of tomatoes for this soup. Tomato paste & a tin of plum tomatoes. Good quality tomatoes makes all the difference here! I recommend using Mutti.
  • Orzo – This is a type of dried pasta & is available from most supermarkets.
  • Onion – I like to use red onion for its’ sweeter flavour but feel free to use a white onion or shallot instead.
  • Chilli – A small amount of dried chilli flakes adds a gentle kick to our soup. These are optional so leave them out if you like.
  • Stock – We’re using chicken stock cubes for their hearty, meaty flavour but veg stock cubes could also be used.
  • Double Cream – Finishing the soup with a small amount of double cream adds richness. You’ll only need 50ml.
orzo tomato soup

How To Make Caramelised Tomato & Orzo Soup

The full, printable recipe card for this soup can be found at the bottom of this post!

  1. Tomato Stock – First, we make a tomato stock by blitzing a tin of plum tomatoes up in a jug blender with water. This is then set aside for later, when we need to cook the orzo.
  2. Veg Base – Next, we fry a diced red onion onion in veg oil until soft then add in grated garlic & dried chilli flakes and cook for another minute.
  3. Caramelised Tomato – Now we add in a tbsp of tomato paste & continue cooking for 4-5 minutes, to caramelise. You’ll know when it’s cooked, because the tomato paste will have darkened in colour.
  4. Broth – Once the tomato paste is cooked, we add in the tomato stock from earlier, as well as stock cubes, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt & pepper. This is then brought up to a boil & the dried orzo is stirred in.
  5. Cook Orzo – Next, we reduce the heat slightly then simmer the soup, stirring regularly until the orzo is cooked al dente. This will take around 10 minutes.
  6. To Finish – Once the pasta is tender, we finish the soup by stirring in double cream, chopped parsley and salt & pepper (as needed).
  7. Serving – To serve, we spoon the soup into bowls then grate a good amount of parmesan over the top.

What To Serve With Orzo Soup

We’re keeping things simple & topping our orzo soup with a generous amount of grated parmesan, to serve. It’s a proper hearty soup so I like to serve it with just some fresh bread. I like sourdough or homemade garlic bread best!

Cooking Soup On An Aga

With all of my recipes, I include cooking instructions for conventional ovens, fan ovens & also Agas. Here’s how to cook this recipe in an Aga…

If you’re using an Aga, cook the onion & tomato paste and bring the soup to a boil on the boiling plate. Cook the orzo on the boiling plate then if the soup gets too hot, move over to the simmering plate.

plum tomato stock

Equipment Used

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Caramelised Tomato & Orzo Soup

This caramelised tomato & orzo soup is super creamy & hearty, with a gentle kick of chilli. Topped with parmesan, for a flavourful lunch!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Lunch, Starter
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 Portions
Author: Ben Racey

Equipment

  • Large Saucepan
  • Jug Blender
  • Microplane/Grater

Ingredients

Soup

  • 400 g Tinned Plum Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Red Onion Finely Diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Grated
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • ¼ tsp Chilli Flakes Optional
  • 2 Chicken Stock Cubes Crumbled Up
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Caster Sugar
  • 150 g Dried Orzo
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 50 ml Double Cream

To Serve

  • 2 tbsp Finely Chopped Parsley
  • Parmesan Grated

Instructions

Soup

  • Tip the tin of tomatoes into a jug blender then fill the empty tin up with water twice & add to the tomatoes. Blitz until smooth then set aside.
  • Next, place the veg oil into a large saucepan, set over a medium heat then once hot, add in the diced onion & a pinch of salt.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft then stir in the grated garlic & chilli flakes (if using) then cook for another minute.
  • Stir in the tomato paste then cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring almost constantly.
    Cook the tomato paste until it darkens in colour. This caramelises it, adding extra flavour to our soup.
  • Next, add in the blitzed tomatoes, stock cubes, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar & sugar then bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the stock.
  • Season the soup with salt & pepper then stir in the orzo & add in the bay leaf. Reduce the heat down to medium-low then simmer, stirring regularly until the orzo is cooked al dente. This will take 10-15 minutes.
    If the soup gets too thick, add in some extra water or stock.
  • Once the orzo is cooked, stir in the double cream then taste to check the seasoning, adding in more salt & pepper as needed.

To Serve

  • Just before serving, stir the chopped parsley into the soup then spoon into bowls. Top each portion with a generous amount of grated parmesan then serve immediately.

Notes

1. Cooking On An Aga – Cook the onion & tomato paste and bring the soup to a boil on the boiling plate. Cook the orzo on the boiling plate then if the soup gets too hot, move over to the simmering plate.
2. Tinned Tomatoes – A good tin of tomatoes is key here! I’d recommend Mutti. If you haven’t got tinned plum tomatoes, finely chopped will work as well.
3. Chicken Stock – If you’d prefer to make this soup vegetarian, use veg stock cubes instead of chicken.
4. Chilli Flakes – For a gentle kick of chilli, I like to add a quarter tsp of dried chilli flakes into the soup. Feel free to use more chilli or leave them out if you’d prefer.

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