At least once this summer, buy plenty of plum tomatoes at the farmers market or save some from your garden and make this soup! This is one of the best things I’ve made with fresh tomatoes. Yes you have to boil and peel the tomatoes and roast the garlic in the oven both of which are a few annoying extra steps, but the few extra steps make this soup what it is.
I made this because I was going to visit my brother and he loves tomato basil soup, so I packed some along. We had it for lunch and he completely approved (success :). He loves the tomato soup at Panera Bread and Zuppas, which means I was up against a few competitors, so I’m really excited it turned out.
I decided to add in my favorite things that go with tomatoes and basil; first roasted garlic (because I could eat it plain all on it’s own. Yes I’ll admit, sometimes I will roast garlic just to eat it plain on it’s own, mmm the flavor is incredible.
But don’t worry, even though it’s one and a half heads of garlic it really is quite mellow. It just adds a delicious garlicky sweetness), then I also added in Asiago because seriously, what would we do without cheese? Nearly everything is better with a generous sprinkling of some sort of cheese.
And in this case Asiago was just the first pairing that came to mind both for flavor and it’s smooth yet stringy melting characteristics.
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Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Roasted Garlic and Asiago Cheese
- 3 lbs ripe Roma tomatoes
- 1 1/2 heads garlic (90g)
- 3 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion , chopped (1 1/3 cups)
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes (I prefer Contadina or Muir Glen)
- 1 (14.5 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 - 2 tsp granulated sugar , to taste
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil , plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz Asiago cheese , finely shredded
- fresh croutons , crusty bread or crackers, for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile cut top from garlic heads (just enough to expose the cloves), leave skin on and place on a baking dish (I just used an oven safe glass bowl) and drizzle 1 1/2 tsp of olive oil over garlic.
- Cover dish with foil and bake garlic in preheated oven until soft and lightly browned, about 35 - 40 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Once water reaches a boil, carefully place tomatoes in boiling water and allow to boil just until their skins burst, about 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile fill a large mixing bowl with ice water. Once tomatoes have burst immediately transfer to ice bath and allow to cool about 30 seconds (or until they are cold enough for you to handle). Peel and dice tomatoes.
- Heat remaining 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large enameled pot over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add diced onion and saute until soft, about 6 minutes. Add in diced tomatoes and their juices, crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper, sugar, red pepper flakes and basil.
- Peel and mince roasted garlic then add to soup. Bring mixture just to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer uncovered for 45 minutes - 1 hour (you can simmer it up to an hour longer over low heat, just cover with lid after 1st hour).
- Puree soup with an immersion blender if desired (if you like it slightly chunky no pureeing is necessary) or process in batches in a blender, filling blender only halfway each time and removing cap in lid and covering with a dish towel (to allow heat to escape and prevent the blender from bursting).
- Stir in heavy cream. Serve warm with fresh croutons, shredded Asiago cheese and sprinkle top with fresh basil.
If you don’t want the “Creamy” just leave out the heavy cream for a delicious tomato basil soup (this is what it looks like before adding cream. And I know, I desperately need to bleach my pot again :)…