With the opening of two new restaurants, Congress and Second Bar + Kitchen, chef David Bull looks to shape Austin's downtown dining scene with a style of dynamic cooking that's all his own. At the more casual Second Bar + Kitchen, Bull focuses on unexpected Tex-Italian dishes such as avocado fundido and pepperoni soup. This riff on his grandmother's closely guarded recipe combines classic pizza ingredients in a soup pot to deliver the flavors of a great slice in every spoonful.
Recipe adapted from David Bull, Second Bar + Kitchen, Austin, Texas
Yield: Yield: 4 main-course servings
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups cubed pepperoni
2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
1½ tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon celery seeds
1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 cup tomato puree
¼ cup Sauternes (or other sweet white wine)
2 cups tomato juice
1 cup tomato sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Croutons, preferably homemade
1. In a medium saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the pepperoni and cook, stirring occasionally, until it's lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
2. Add the onions, celery, garlic, basil, parsley, oregano, garlic salt, celery seeds and red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the onions are tender, about 8 minutes.
3. Add the tomato puree and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and reduce the liquid by half, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato juice, tomato sauce and 1 cup of water. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Remove the soup from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide among 4 bowls and top with the mozzarella and croutons. Serve immediately.