Tomato Basil Soup


When I'm entertaining and/or out to dinner with friends, I'm often asked what do I like to cook or what's my specialty - which the hubby frequently answers - everything! Thanks honey for the vote of confidence. It's true that I love to try my hand at making a lot of things, especially the meals that we enjoy at our favorite restaurants. But I would have to say from Fall to Winter, my main specialty is soup. Specifically creamy pureed soups, and for obvious reasons. One) they fill your house with warmth and comforting aromas that make you just want to cuddle on the couch in front of the TV while cradling that steaming bowl of warm goodness in the palm of your hands. Two) they are easy to whirl up in no time. Three) they are richly flavorful and soothing to the soul. Four) They're what I like to call one of the world's best 'make-aheads' and create a satisfying meal with simple accompaniments, like rustic bread or salad. The added bonus: watching others enjoy it.

Ingredients {serves 6}

3 1/2 lb. ripe beefsteak tomatoes (Set aside 1 coarsely chopped tomato for garnish)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
3 small onions, diced
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. sea or kosher salt
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup whipping cream
6 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
2 Tbsp. Brandy (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400

On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the tomatoes with the garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for about 20 minutes, until their skins begin to shrivel, stirring once halfway through.

In a Dutch oven, saute onion in butter over medium-low heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until onions are tender, stirring occasionally. Add in the roasted tomatoes, garlic, and vegetable stock. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.


Transfer tomato mixture in batches to a blender. Cover and process until smooth. Return pureed mixture to pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, finely chop the basil. Stir basil into tomato mixture. Add cheese, cream, and, brandy (if desired). Heat through. Stir until cheese is melted.

Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with chopped tomato and basil. Enjoy!


P.S. The first time I made this soup, I served it with grilled cheese. Super yummy!



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