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A popular restaurant favorite – Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
Back in the day when I worked as an office manager, a couple of my co-workers talked about a local restaurant and the wonderful tomato basil soup they served on occasion. While I never tried that recipe, I did get ‘tomato soup on the brain’ and set out to make our own at home. I wanted our tomato basil soup to be restaurant-quality, cream-free, and meatless with a lot less sodium. This required a cooking method that would impart tremendous tomato flavor without tasting like a can of stewed tomatoes.
Roasting vegetables builds terrific flavor.
I took my inspiration from a recipe in Delicious Soups by Belinda Williams where the tomatoes, garlic and onion are oven roasted before being added to the soup pot. This method makes a big difference in the flavor.
Even though garden fresh tomatoes will have to wait until summer, I was happy to find these Roma Tomatoes at a reasonable price in our local grocery store. I started with 18 tomatoes or about 3.5 pounds. Any nice ripe tomato will do such as these Roma or plum.
Roasting tomatoes and onions is easy to do!
Slice the red onion into quarters, slice the tomatoes in half, add 6 cloves of garlic and toss the whole thing in 1/3 cup of olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and roast in a moderate (350 degree) oven. Slow roasting brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes.
The roasted vegetables are pureed for a smooth and creamy base.
Toss 1/4 cup of fresh basil, 6 tablespoons tomato paste, the roasted onions and roasted tomatoes in a good blender. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the blender and discard the skins.
The ultimate tomato sauce or soup!
Blend until the mixture is almost smooth. I think this would be perfect to toss with pasta, spread on a pizza crust, or just eat with a spoon. Add a little Merlot and I think I have another recipe!
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup is a snap to pull together.
Pour the puree into a soup pot and add 3- 4 cups of vegetable stock, depending on desired consistency. Season with a little granulated sugar, crushed red pepper, fresh thyme, salt and pepper and heat just until hot – do not boil.
Garnish and serve
Serve garnished with fresh basil, ground black pepper and a little grated Parmesan. A big hunk of an oven fresh toasted baguette doesn’t hurt either!
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Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
- 3 ½ pounds fresh, ripe Roma tomatoes or Plum tomatoes
- 2 large red onions quartered
- 6 whole garlic cloves skin on
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 6 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves packed
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- fresh ground pepper
- sea salt
- fresh basil julienned (sliced in thin ribbons)
- grated Parmesan
- extra drizzle of olive oil for serving
- sliced baguette for serving
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Core the tomatoes and slice in half. Add the tomatoes, quartered red onion, and whole garlic cloves to a large bowl. Drizzle with ⅓ cup of olive oil, toss to coat. Spread the mixture on a large baking sheet with the tomatoes cut side up. Sprinkle the vegetables with sea salt and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and slightly caramelized.
- In the carafe of a blender add ¼ cup basil leaves, crushed red pepper, sugar, and tomato paste.
- When the tomatoes are roasted add them to the blender along with the roasted onion. Squeeze the garlic cloves into the blender discarding the skin. Pour any pan juices into a large soup pot and set aside.
- Blend the tomato and onion mixture until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the puree into the soup pot and add 3 cups of vegetable stock. Add up to another cup of vegetable stock or until you reach the desired consistency.
- Stir in the fresh thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Heat on medium until hot - do not boil.
- Serve garnished with a drizzle of olive oil, basil and grated Parmesan if desired.
Well there you have it … another meatless Monday meal that doesn’t make you feel like something’s missing! Why meatless? As we get older it’s harder to keep those cholesterol numbers down so as much as as we can, we try to eat healthy, get a little exercise and behave. Oh yes, we’re still saving room for dessert!
Here are a few more recipes you might enjoy: