Tomato Basil Soup

   Yep, it’s soup season and I could not be more excited!  I’ve had a few soups up my sleeve I’ve been wanting to share with you, but I figured I wouldn’t be inspiring anyone with a warm and toasty soup recipe on a 90 degree day.  This past week, though, I have busted out a few soups because the nights are cool and there is a crisp, fall sort of feeling in the air.

   I don’t even need know where to start with the deliciousness of this soup.  It rivals any tomato basil soup I have ever gotten in a restaurant and is far better than any other tomato soup I have ever made.  It hits all those comfort food notes that you want in a tomato soup and yet has a sophistication and depth that makes it fancy enough to serve with a nice meal.  What more do I need to say to convince you to make this soup?!?!  You will not be disappointed!


   One of the things that makes this soup unique is that you roast the tomatoes with garlic and olive oil before adding them to the soup.  By doing this, the tomatoes and the garlic take on a sweet note and a caramelized flavor.   You can use any type of tomatoes you want, but I personally like to use a variety.



      Once the tomatoes have roasted, put them in a pot where you have sauteed some onions.  Add chicken broth (or vegetable broth) and a large handful of basil and bring the pot to a boil.  Turn the pot to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Tomato Basil Soup (from Heather Christo)


6lbs tomatoes
8 garlic cloves, whole in paper
1/4 cup of olive oil

2 Tbs butter
2 large yellow onions (roughly chopped)
handful of basil
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup half and half
kosher salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat tomatoes and garlic in olive oil and 1 tsp kosher salt and place on a baking sheet.  Roast for 30 min.  Pull out of the oven to cool slightly.  Meanwhile, saute the onions and butter until softened.  Remove the garlic from the paper and put garlic, tomatoes and all their juices in the pot.  Add a large handful of fresh basil and the chicken broth to the pot.  Bring to a boil and then lower the temperature to low and simmer for 30 minutes.  Use an emersion blender to blend all the ingredients together until smooth.  Add 1 cup half and half and salt to taste.  Serve warm.     





  Use an emersion blender to blend the soup together and then add a cup of half and half  to the soup.   Warm through and serve with grilled cheese or garlic bread.


One Pot Tomato Basil Rice

My favorite things to make are those that have very few ingredients, but each ingredient is so exceptional in its taste that you can pick out each flavor in the dish.  This dish is one of those masterpieces that becomes a staple in your summer cooking.  Incredibly easy and yet richly flavored, this dish is made in just one pot.   It’s also pretty foolproof as evidenced by the fact that I got distracted halfway through with my girls who decided to snag the bottle of cleaner I had just used to wipe up some meat drippings so they could “clean” each other off.  Somehow, the rice still tasted amazing even though I let it cook too long and didn’t stir it.     It is a balance of creaminess from a rich tomato broth and brightness from fresh basil.  A perfect summer side dish.

Simply start with one cup of rice and two cups of water in a medium size pot.  I chose Arborio rice (I know, it’s supposed to be used in risotto, but I think it works with this preparation too).  You could also use long grain white rice or even brown rice.


Add some thinly sliced onion, chopped garlic, quartered tomatoes and olive oil.


Allow the mixture to come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  The vegetables will create a broth that is absorbed into the rice.


Stir every so often and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.


Serve it in bowls drizzled with olive oil, and topped with shredded basil and parmesan.  Eat and repeat because it’s too hard to resist.


One Pot Tomato Basil Rice (adapted from Smitten Kitchen–serves 4)


1 cup long grain rice, brown rice, arborio rice or farro

2 cups water

1/2 white onion halved and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

9 oz cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes or whatever you have on hand

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1/4 cup shredded basil


Add the rice, water, onion, garlic, tomatoes and 1 tbsp olive oil to a medium size pot.  Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes (depending on the grain you have chosen), stirring halfway through.  Once the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, divide into 4 bowls and top each bowl with 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tbsp parmesan, and 1 tbsp shredded basil.