cream of fresh tomato soup ~ with roasted tomatoes & basil
We pick up where we left off, with buckets full of vine-ripened tomatoes and the nagging, only partially-answered, question: What am I supposed to do with all these? They’re beautiful, of course, and we love them and all, we really do – but this time of year, for many of us with children starting back to school, schedules changing, all the hurrying around, and so many things threatening to fall through the cracks if we don’t give them our attention, we look at those vines, heavy to the point of breaking, and those fruits, ready to spill their ripe goodness on the ground, and we find ourselves momentarily glaring at them even, and begging, oh please! Can’t you see I don’t have time for this!? Well, here’s a bit of good news – you just may. In about 30 minutes of active prep time (and very little expense) you can have 8 servings of a most delicious soup, and have found a place for 4 whole pounds of those tomatoes.
Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup with Roasted Tomatoes & Basil
- 4 Tablespoons good olive oil (divided)
- 4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (divided) (2 pounds cut in half; 2 pounds coarsely chopped)
- 2 red onions, chopped (1½ cups)
- 2 carrots, un-peeled, chopped
- 1½ teaspoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, (plus more to garnish)
- 3 cups chicken stock (preferably home-made) (or as a vegetarian option, a good vegetable stock)
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup cream
- croutons, as garnish
In this recipe, half the tomatoes are oven-roasted, deepening their flavors and caramelizing their sugars. When these come out of the oven, they’re then added to the pot of already-brewing soup.
Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using half of your tomatoes, cut them in half, place in bowl and toss them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Place them single-layer on your baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes. (Time depends on size of your tomatoes. You’ll want them oozing their juices and brown, even slightly charred in places, but of course not burnt. Check after 30 minutes.) In the meantime, coarsely chop the remaining 2 pounds of tomatoes and set aside. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat until shimmering. Drop in the onions and carrots and sauté until very tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, stock, 2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir well. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender. As soon as the tomatoes in the oven are finished roasting, add them to the pot, along with all their caramelized juices.
Add the cream to the soup and stir for a minute. Remove from heat. If you have an immersion blender, now’s the time to use it. Blend the soup in the pot until it’s a satiny smooth purée. Otherwise, using your counter-top blender and working in batches, ladle the soup into the blender and purée. (As a safety precaution, don’t fill too full and cover the lid with a folded kitchen towel.)
Reheat the soup over low heat until hot and serve with crispy croutons and julienned basil leaves. (Or even teeny whole basil leaves if you have them.)
Deeply flavored, almost profoundly satisfying, warm comfort in a bowl. (sigh)
This soup has a slight amount of heat to it, for most of us, just right; but it may be more than your little ones prefer. For them, or for those with a more tender palate, a bit of extra cream or milk can be added.
We’re still not done with tomatoes, so expect at least one more recipe with them as the star of the show. And in an upcoming post, I’ll let you know what else is brewing in spree’s kitchen.
This recipe was inspired by Ina Garten’s Cream of Tomato Soup