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Last month, I set a goal for myself: I am going to make at least one home-made soup each of the 52 weeks of 2012.  I’m calling it, “Soup for You: 52 soups in 2012.”  Well, we’re at the end of the first week of January so it’s time to share my first recipe: tomato basil soup.

Now, this may not sound like a very grandiose or fancy recipe and there is a reason for that: it’s not!  Whether you use canned ‘San Marzano” tomatoes in winter like the recipe here, or fresh tomatoes in summer, this recipe is very flavorful.  It’s super easy, too, which makes it a winner for a weeknight meal or a go-to lunch item. The trick is to roast the tomatoes.  Roasting concentrates the flavor, adds a bit of smokiness and elevates a classic ‘canned soup’ favorite to something a little gourmet.  To take that even one step further, I like to drizzle a bit of my best olive oil on the top of each serving and add a sprig of fresh basil right before serving.  This brightens the flavor and balances the smoke.

 

INGREDIENTS

1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, with extra to drizzle
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup organic chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Strain the chopped canned tomatoes, reserving the juices, and spread onto a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, to taste, drizzle with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and roast until caramelized, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic, cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted chopped canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices and chicken broth. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add basil. Puree with a hand held immersion blender until smooth.

Wine pairing suggestion: Chianti (medium-bodied, bright)