A Taste of Summer for a Mid-Winter Respite

Yesterday, I wrote of my love for pesto and listed several ways of using this diverse condiment.  Today, a simple Tomato Basil Soup will warm you to your toes, even if you are in the north-east section of the country.  After digging out from under the most recent of snow storms, putting this simple soup together will transport you to warmer climes and remind you of the joys of summer.

Tomato Basil Soup

2-3 Tbls olive oil

2 cups chopped onion

salt and pepper to taste

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 46 oz can or bottle of tomato juice

2 28oz cans of whole or diced tomatoes

2 Tbls vegetable base*

1 tsp (or more to taste) sugar

1-2 Tbls Italian seasoning (or a mixture of rosemary thyme, oregano and a pinch of sage)

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 cup prepared basil pesto

1/3 cup minced sundried tomatoes

1 cup heavy cream

In a large soup pot, saute the onion in the olive oil until translucent.  Stir in the garlic, tomato juice and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Add the vegetable base and seasonings .  Simmer for 15 minutes or so to marry the flavors.

Stir in the pesto and sun dried tomatoes. Simmer for a few more minutes to soften up the tomatoes.   Using an immersion blender (or food processor or blender) smooth out the soup to the desired consistency.  Taste for seasoning, adding additional salt, pepper or sugar to achieve balance.

Temper the cream by heating it in the microwave or on the stove top until hot.  Blend the cream into the soup.  Of course, the cream is optional.  Should you decide to have a version of this soup that is Au natural, just omit this step.

*Vegetable base is concentrated soup or broth base.  I use ‘Better than Bouillon’, but others, like Minor’s are available.

Enjoy your soup!

Additional recipes can be found on my website: http://www.cookwithmary.com

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