Depending on where you are, the tomatoes are either just hitting their peak or winding down. Around here it’s the end of the season. It’s been a good summer, filled with Caprese salads, bruschetta, pasta al pomodoro, BLTs and corn maque choux. But I needed a new idea. When my youngest daughter asked for tomato basil soup, I gladly complied.
Roasting the tomatoes prior to making the soup takes a little time but is worth it as it concentrates the flavors and cuts down on stove-top cooking time. I also leave the seeds in the tomatoes. If you are sensitive to the seeds, you can deseed the tomatoes prior to roasting. I also like to use an assortment of tomato varieties. Romas, on the vines, grape or cherry. They all have a slightly different flavor and each brings it’s own uniqueness to the party.
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
- 4-5 lbs assorted tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 5 or 6 cloves garlic, whole
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 5 Tble butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped roughly
- 10 fresh basil leaves
- 1 Tble sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup half + half
- bacon for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 400˚. In a large bowl, pour olive oil over wedged tomatoes and garlic. Pour contents onto a large, foil-lined sided baking sheet. Roast tomatoes with the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes on the middle rack for 30-40 minutes until soft and liquid has thickened slightly, depending on the size and water content of your tomatoes. Remove tomatoes from the oven and set aside to cool slightly. While tomatoes cool, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions in butter until soft, about 5 minutes, being careful not to brown. Add roasted tomatoes and their juices to the saucepan with the onions. Add basil and sugar, cook over medium-low heat for another 10-15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. If you have an immersion blender, use it to blend the soup to a smooth consistency. If you do not have an immersion blender, working in batches, ladle a few ladlefuls into a blender. Remove plastic top from the middle of the blender lid creating a hole in the lid. Place lid on top of blender and cover with 2 dishclothes. BEING EXTREMELY CAREFUL NOT TO BURN YOURSELF, blend until soup is smooth. Continue until all of soup is blended. Return to the saucepan. Add salt, pepper and half + half. Simmer over very low heat until soup is warm. Serve with bacon and basil oil.
- If your soup is too thick after you’ve run it through the blender, add some chicken stock or water to thin it out.