There’s a wonderful Tuscan restaurant in Chicago that has been around for ages called Gioco. It’s got the perfect combo of atmosphere (low-key & relaxed, but still elegant and oh-so-romantique!), food (deeeelish), price (reasonable enough to justify an impulse date night), and… and… I dunno. It’s just great.

Back in the day when I was naively mowing glutenglutengluten, I tried a soup special they were offering that was called Tomato Bread Soup. I had never heard of such a thing and was intrigued. I got it and it was a garlicky tomato soup thickened with bread. Oh man, was it good. They never featured it again, but I have been dreaming of it since.

Entirely by accident, in one of my buckwheat experiments, I came across a recipe that reminds me of that Gioco marvel. I’ll call it Tomato Kasha Soup b/c Tomato Bread Soup is too scary. But know that it’s really Tomato Bread Soup for Celiacs.

Tomato Kasha Soup - A Gluten-Free version of Pappa al Pomodoro

Tomato Kasha Soup - A Gluten-Free version of Pappa al Pomodoro

Tomato Kasha Soup

  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1 c. buckwheat
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 c. water or vegetable broth
  • 2 17-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 poorly measured (read: heaping?) T tomato paste
  • small bunch of fresh sage (10-15ish leaves or 3 t. dried)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a pot. Add garlic and buckwheat and saute for 2-ish minutes. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes. When buckwheat is cooked, add remaining ingredients and simmer until ready to eat. The longer you simmer, the more the buckwheat plumps up and thickens, so you may need to adjust water and tomato paste amounts to accommodate this. But don’t thin it out too much – the soup should be quite thick – almost like a chili or a stew.

Makes a great, hearty lunch for those cold February Sundays. Oh wait – it’s MARCH! Ah well. Still cold. And snowing currently…