Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

“Cold soup is a very tricky thing and it is the rare hostess who can carry it off. More often than not the dinner guest is left with the impression that had he only come a little earlier he could have gotten it while it was still hot.”
Fran Lebowitz, journalist

Here we are half-way between Ash Wednesday and Easter.  Signs of spring are making an appearance everywhere and the weather is warming up.  A lighter soup seemed suitable, a versatile soup that could be served warm or cold. Now don’t miss understand, nothing has changed in this house, there will be no cold soup served to the men folk here, it is just too much effort to fight that battle.  But when there is a gentler, more feminine crowd present we will enjoy the cooler version. 

2 onions chopped, 3 garlic cloves minced, 3 lbs Roma tomatoes cut in half,  4 tbls olive oil, 1 tbls coarse salt, 1 1/2 tsp course ground black pepper, 2 tbls butter, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, 1 pint canned tomatoes, 1-4 cups basil leaves, 1 tsp fresh thyme, 1 quart vegetable stock.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, toss together the tomatoes, 2 tbls olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place on baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

This method of roasting may be used in a variety of recipes. Be sure and sample these jewels before you put them in the pot. You will be hooked with the first bite.

In a large soup pot sauté the onions and garlic with 2 tbls olive oil and the butter, and the red pepper flakes for 10 minutes. Onions should just start to brown.  Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and stock.  Add the roasted tomatoes and all the juice on the pan.  Simmer uncovered 40 minutes.  Place small amounts of soup in your food processor and chop briefly.   Serve hot or cold with a dab of sour cream.  This is wonderful made the day ahead or frozen.  As a side note,  the amount of basil varies depending on the season.  If there is basil in the garden I add the full 4 cups, if I have to buy fresh, it is rather pricy in this rural community, so I skimp.  We enjoy it both ways.

This recipe was adapted from “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.”

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