I love tomatoes. They are by far my favorite vegetable (or are they a fruit?). In the summer it’s a no-brainer – the tomatoes are bursting with flavor and I can just slice them, drizzle olive oil, add a little lemon juice or balsamic, some salt and pepper and eat them right up. In the winter months, it’s a different story. Thank you, Ina for your Roasted Tomato Basil Soup – the perfect way to enjoy tomatoes in February!
I belong to a book club, but it’s really more of a ‘let’s get together and eat good food’ club. We do read a book each month, but since we are all self-proclaimed foodies, we plan our meetings around food. We usually gather in the evening and everyone prepares something based on the monthly theme. This month, our theme was comfort food. I decided on soup. For me, comfort food is Ina’s Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. It’s warm and familiar, and it’s just delicious. I know lots of people grew up eating tomato soup, and I think this version brings up a lot of those cozy, childhood memories. Nothing like tomato soup on a cold, damp day. Needless to say, it was a hit.
I like this recipe because it's straightforward and uses basic ingredients that are readily available at any grocery store. I served the soup as an appetizer and top it with avocado, but you can serve it for lunch or dinner with a warm baguette, a classic grilled or even a salad. You can also make a double batch and freeze it in one of our Plastic Containers for a quick meal when you don’t feel like cooking but want something warm and satisfying.
Personally, I can’t wait for warmer weather here on the east coast – but until then, I’ll be comforting myself with this delicious soup!
Ina Garten’s Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil (Olio Santo)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock or water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet.
Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.
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