Gatherings: A Soup For All Seasons

Served hot or cold, roasted tomato-basil soup makes a heartwarming meal any time of the year
Eugenia Uhl Photograph

Like her sister-soup, chicken noodle, there’s something about a bowl of tomato soup that is soothing to the soul. But make it fresh with a few extra herbs and ingredients, and this classic canned pantry staple reaches a new height of comfort food sophistication. It’s light enough for lunch but hearty enough for dinner – especially when accompanied by a crusty, gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. For a twist on the traditional, try it gazpacho-style when the temperature rises.

Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup

3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (about 2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock or water

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in an even layer on a baking sheet, and roast for 45 minutes.

• In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold. Serves 6 to 8.

Recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.