Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
This creamy tomato basil soup is a simple but successful take on the classic. A perfect way to enjoy this transition from Winter to Spring.
With soup season waning, let’s have a last hurrah and welcome spring kind of soup, shall we? This soup is as simple as it can get, and has a pretty classic flavor profile, so you might be thinking, “why would I use your recipe versus any others I find?” Because, my friend, it’s all about HOW it’s done. Well, and the ingredients you use. Because the ingredient list is relatively short, make sure you use the best ingredients you can find and afford. Even with the slightly pricier San Marzano tomatoes, this soup comes in pretty cheap. And the flavor difference is so worth the extra $0.25 or less per serving.
So yes, let’s talk about San Marzano tomatoes. To officially get the title, they need to actually be grown in San Marzano, Italy. So even if the heirloom seeds are brought to American soil and grown beautifully, they can’t technically be called by the name. So sometimes you’ll see “San Marzano style” on the can. And truthfully, I still love them. Of course the volcanic soil by Mt. Vesuvius does make true San Marzano tomatoes superior, but domestically grown ones are actually still fantastic, in my opinion. My favorites are Cento San Marzano Organic Peeled Tomatoes and Muir Glen Organic San Marzano Style Plum Tomatoes. I especially love that the Muir Glen tomatoes come in a bottle instead of a can, just like you’d can them at home.
Next, and just as important, is the extra step of caramelizing your onions. Trust me on this. It’s a little extra time and effort, but it makes a sweeter, richer, more flavorful soup, and an added bonus, much smoother when you purée. See, onions don’t like acid. Once they come in contact with acid, they can still continue to cook, but they no longer soften. So if you don’t cook them an adequate amount of time before adding the tomatoes, you end up with crunchy little onions bits, even after the immersion blender. So caramelize those onions!
And lastly, stock. I’m a big fan of homemade stock. Store bought varieties are improving, absolutely. So if you’re short on time, or ran out of homemade in the freezer, then by all means, use a good brand you trust. But there just isn’t any comparison to that lovely smell of homemade. And chicken or vegetable work beautiful here. I have a recipe of homemade chicken stock here. And maybe it’s time I show you my go-to vegetables stock method … that’s a thought.
In the end, you get this. And what a lovely soup it is. Especially with a big slice of oozy homemade cheddar sourdough or grilled cheese on the side? Yup, heaven.
- 2 tablespoons butter, preferably grassfed
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1 small carrot, grated fine
- fine unrefined sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
- 6 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- 1 ounce basil, leaves torn and bruised
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more for drizzling
- In a large, heavy bottomed pot, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and carrot, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until onions are a dark-golden brown, about 20 minutes. Make a well in the center and add the second tablespoon of butter along with the garlic. Let cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute, and then stir into the onions.
- Add tomatoes, and break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Season with another generous pinch of salt and let simmer, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce has reduced to about 3/4 the original amount, add the basil. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the stock and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for 5 or so minutes. Using an immersion blender or in batches in a countertop blender, blend the soup to desired smoothness. Stir in the cream just before serving.
- Serve with a drizzle of cream over each individual bowl.