During the cold winter months, we have some kind of soup for dinner at least once a week. It might be from a can and doctored up with a little of this and that, or it might be something a little more homemade, like this. Either way, it’s nice to come home after a long day and throw some simple ingredients in a pot, and then sit down to relax while it simmers.
As the weather warms up, we gradually forget about soup and move on to anything that can be grilled. It may be time to fire up that grill soon, but around these parts, I’m certain there will be an opportunity for at least one more pot of soup.
If you’re looking for one more pot of soup to enjoy before the weather gets warm, this would be a good choice. It’s quick and easy to put together, and goes well with bread left over from the weekend, or a panini with some focaccia from the freezer.
Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup
Yield: 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 sprigs basil
1 large can (28 oz.) San Marzano tomatoes
1 small can (14.5 oz.) tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
salt and freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon dried Italian herbs
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
several sprigs fresh
one tomato, finely chopped
shredded parmesan for garnish
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Stir in the onions and cook until they are softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Don’t let them brown. Add the basil, tomatoes, broth, ¾ teaspoons salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs to the onions. Bring it all to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low heat and let it simmer about 20 minutes. Remove the basil sprigs and discard.
Puree the soup in three batches in a blender until mostly smooth, about two minutes. This is the part where you hold down the lid of the blender very, very firmly. Otherwise, you’ll end up blowing the top off and spraying tomato soup all over everything. I’m not speaking from experience or anything, just doing my best to help you out. Or you could avoid the whole hot liquid and steam in a blender situation by leaving the soup in the pot and pureeing it with an immersion blender until mostly smooth.
If you used an upright blender, pour the soup back in the pot. Bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream and balsamic vinegar. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Just before serving, cut the basil leaves into very thin slices. Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with basil, fresh tomato, and shredded parmesan.
- Adapted from the Fine Cooking Magazine website.
- When tomatoes aren’t in season, I think canned San Marzano tomatoes are the best choice for this and other tomato dishes, but they can sometimes be difficult to find. You can use whatever kind you have available. It’s going to be blended together, so any combination of whole or diced tomatoes is fine. I like to use a big can of whole, and a small can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes.