My 3rd day of my Week with the Barefoot Contessa brings you roasted tomato basil soup.

Why, you ask would I be making a hot soup in the middle of August?

To be frank, it certainly doesn’t feel like the middle of August but rather the end of September/beginning of October. With morning temps here in CT in the mid to upper 50s and daytime highs in the mid 70s, my usual mid-summer longing for fall has begun. And with the influx my kitchen has seen of our Roma tomatoes and abundance of backyard basil, I needed to find something to make that would use up a good amount of both ingredients.

This recipe was perfect.

I halved the recipe (full recipe serves 6 to 8) and even with that, I used 2 cups of packed basil and about 10-12 tomatoes. While roasting the carrots and potatoes for dinner the other night, I popped in the tomatoes as well and allowed for the soup to be that much easier to make tonight.

The soup was just great! The recipe didn’t call for salt but it really did need it and next time, I would add some salt to the onions in the beginning rather than at the end. With the red pepper flakes, there definitely is a kick of heat which was nice and will be even better on a cold winter night.

The recipe says to pass the soup through a food mill but I used my immersion blender. If you don’t have one of those, you could use your blender or food processor – it really is a necessary step unless you like hunks of tomato in your soup, which I don’t. I paired the soup with an Italian panini or Genoa salami, roasted red peppers, basil and fontina on ciabatta bread – the perfect complement to this roasted tomato basil soup.

  • Prep Time: 20min
  • Cook Time: about 2hrs
  • Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock or water (I made this chicken stock a few weeks ago and froze it)

Instructions

  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 400° F. Toss together the tomatoes, ¼ cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

  • 02

    In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 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.

adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten