There is always an element of sadness when the last few basil leaves are picked from the garden. It signals the ends of the summer season. I was committed to making a pot of tomato basil soup to finish off the last crop of tomatoes and basil. Actually, it was more of a challenge. My husband didn’t think I would follow through on making the soup. He not only lost the challenge, but this soup topped the flavor list with garlic, onion, roasted tomatoes, olive oil and fresh basil. Heck, what’s not to like?
– 2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, roasted
– 1/3 cup olive oil
– 1 T kosher salt
– 1 1/2 teas. ground black pepper
– 1/3 cup milk
– 1 cup finely chopped onion
– 6 garlic cloves, minced
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 1 1/2 quart chicken stock
– 3 cups fresh basil, packed, then finely chopped
– 1/2 teas. dried thyme or 1 teas. fresh thyme
– 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
– 1 24-ounce jar organic crushed tomatoes (Kirkland brand from Costco)
– 1 small zucchini, shredded
Place 2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water. Let simmer until the skins begin to fall off. Immediately rinse tomatoes with cold water. When cool enough to touch, remove and discard the skins. Roughly chop tomatoes and place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil over top. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Roast for 45 minutes at 400 degrees.
Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onions in 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup olive oil. When the onions start to brown, add the jar of organic tomatoes, chicken stock, shredded zucchini basil and thyme. Add the oven roasted tomatoes and any residual juices. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the milk, then using a stick blender, mix until the soup is smooth and creamy.
Serve hot or cold. Make 6-8 servings. In the neighborhood of 155 calories per serving.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Cut the baguette slices into crouton size shapes. Use to garnish the soup.