Unsatisfied with the weak tomato flavor they were getting from supermarket tomatoes this time of year, the cooks of Cook's Illustrated thought to add a dose of V8 to their recipe for Hearty Minestrone. When we made the recipe for ourselves, we thought the soup was absolutely fantastic and we were truly impressed by the bright tomato-y flavor and all around depth from the V8.
The advantage of V8 over fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, or even straight tomato juice is that it includes all sorts of other vegetables along with the tomatoes. Carrots, spinach, celery, and even beets give this juice a depth and roundness over others. In soups and braises, this is like a magical instant flavor boost!
If you don't drink V8 normally, you can buy packages of small 5.5-ounce cans. These keep in your pantry for months and are the perfect amount for adding to just about any dish.
(Image: Emma Christensen)