Winter is not yet done with Santa Fe. And I am thrilled. I love winter. So I was not disappointed when we were graced with a blanket of snow the other day. I made what I think may have been one of the last fires of the season and savored a bowl of roasted tomato-basil soup that was waiting in the freezer for a night just like that.
A few weeks ago, I hosted my book club and served this soup as the entree. It was a hit and I loved how impressed everyone was. It is a very flavorful and rich soup that does not disappoint. To boost this simple meal, I went to our city’s best, best, best bread shop called, The Bread Shop, and scored a few 4″x6″ chunks of sea salt focaccia and an exquisite sourdough boule.
Roasting the Tomatoes Makes Simple Tomato Soup Sensational
This Ina Garten recipe comes together without heavy lifting and barely any lifting. In fact, I found this soup quite rewarding to make. Considering how rich and satisfying it is to eat, one would assume the recipe is a bit more complicated. But the simplicity is perhaps why it’s so wonderful.
Roasting the Roma tomatoes adds a much-needed layer of complexity to this classic, but often boring recipe. The canned tomatoes add a welcome glug of liquid and another layer of tomato flavor. Garlic, onion, thyme, basil and red pepper flakes are the base and then there’s the broth–chicken or vegetable broth–to bring it all together.
After the soup simmers for 40 minutes, use an immersion blender to puree this bright red and beautiful bowl of goodness.
Soup for Dinner
It’s as simple as that. Serve with a bountiful salad and crusty bread or a classic grilled cheese and your crew will beg for this dinner again and again. One bite of this soup and everyone will concur, “I can’t believe we used to think Campbell’s tomato soup was good…we will never go back.” And you can relax knowing you have elevated the culinary standards for those you love with a super simple roasted tomato-basil soup.
Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup
By bringing two kinds of tomatoes into the recipe--roasted Roma tomatoes and canned tomatoes--the tomato flavor profile is already amped up. The addition of alliums and spices makes this one of the best and simplest tomato soups you will ever make. It comes together without much effort but it tastes like it cooked all day.
- 3 lbs Roma tomatoes washed, ends cut off and halved lengthwise
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped about 2 cups
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes and the juice
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
- garnish with fresh Parm, torn basil and/or lots of freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Toss together the tomatoes, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup olive oil. Spread evenly--cut side down--on baking sheet and cook for 40 minutes, or until slightly golden.
In a soup pot over medium heat, add the 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter and saute the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 10 minutes until the onions begin to brown a bit.
Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme and stock.
Add the roasted tomatoes, including any juice on the baking sheet. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the temperature to a simmer and cook uncovered for 40 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to make this easy on yourself or choose a food mill or a blender. But be careful to not puree the soup so it's too smooth. I prefer a bit of tomato substance in there.
Taste for seasoning, adjusting as needed. Serve hot with salad and a grilled cheese or crusty bread to make this a meal worth remembering.