I love tomato soup! Over the years I've come across some amazing versions — from the delicate, creamy Tomato Bisque at the Blossom Dairy in Charleston, WV to the bold, olive oil fortified Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup at Uva 69 in Miami, FL. Oddly enough, I never made my own version until a couple weeks ago, but it was worth the wait. I used freshly roasted tomatoes, homemade chicken stock, fresh basil, red pepper, onions and garlic to create a rich and slightly spicy soup. I served it with olive oil-Parmesan croutons made from a loaf of sourdough I had on hand. Next time, I want to try it with mini grilled cheese sandwiches — fresh mozzarella grilled between half-inch baguette slices.
Spicy Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup
3–4 pounds of fresh tomatoes (I used a combination of Roma and Campari)
1/3 cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoon
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 can, 28-oz., whole peeled tomatoes
1 quart chicken stock
2 large handfuls of fresh basil plus extra chiffonade* for garnish
2 teaspoons sugar
fresh ground pepper to taste
sea salt to taste (if needed at all)
good olive oil for drizzling
crusty bread or Parmesan croutons
Preheat oven to 400º. Cut tomatoes in half, toss with 1/3 cup olive oil, sea salt and fresh thyme. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in oven for 45 – 60 minutes.
While the tomatoes roast, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter in a large dutch oven or stock pot. Melt together on medium heat and add onion and red pepper flakes. Sauté until onions begin to soften and add garlic. Continue cooking until the onions just begin to caramelize. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and allow to cook about 5 minutes longer. Add the canned tomatoes and chicken stock and allow to simmer until the roasted tomatoes are ready. Add the roasted tomatoes and all their juices and the fresh basil. Stir together and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes. Purée the soup with a hand immersion blender** until smooth. Add 2 teaspoons sugar and salt & pepper as needed to taste. Serve topped with a sprinkling of fresh basil and fresh thyme leaves, a drizzle of good olive oil and Parmesan croutons or crusty bread.
* Cut into fine ribbons
** You could also carefully process through a food mill or in a regular blender if you do not have an immersion blender, but I have found the immersion blender to be an exceptional tool. You can pick up a basic model for $25-$30 and a really nice one for $50-$60.
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