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The Kitchn: Spicy tomato soup warms you up instantly

By Sheela Prakash on

While this soup tastes like the balmy days of August, it has the power to instantly warm you up. It's brothy and light, but a spicy kick from red pepper flakes gives you the heat you need on these cold winter nights.

A summery soup on winter says

This brothy soup has the power to bring you back to summer -- with all the tomato and basil goodness you know you and love -- yet it's fit for cooler days, thanks to tomato paste and a healthy dose of red pepper flakes. Shrimp gives you a light dose of protein and lends a seafood stew-like quality to the pot, while a little pasta rounds everything out and makes this a meal in a bowl.

Spicy Tomato and Shrimp Soup

Serves 6 to 8

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more as needed

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1/4 cup tomato paste

8 cups unsalted chicken broth

2 cups dry ditalini pasta

1 1/2 pounds uncooked peeled and deveined medium shrimp

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves

Heat the oil in a 5-quart or larger Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and saute until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute more.

Add the tomato paste and saute until the paste has deepened in color, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low to simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

Add the pasta and continue to simmer until it's al dente, about 10 minutes or according to package instructions. Taste and season the soup with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes as needed.

Stir in the shrimp and simmer until they are pink and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Thinly slice the basil and serve the soup immediately, as it does not keep well, with basil sprinkled over each bowl.

(Sheela Prakash is assistant food editor for, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to


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