What is the perfect thing to have with a warm Italian panino? Of course………..tomato soup. But, not just any tomato soup. This is creamy tomato and red bell pepper soup with fresh basil. I made this for some of my girlfriends for lunch and it was a nice way to round out the panini sandwiches and fun conversation.
The way to start any soup is to begin with aromatics, which adds depth of flavor. That comes from the onions, garlic, dried thyme and tomato paste. Layer in salt and pepper as you go.
When the onions are soft, add two cans of whole tomatoes.
Break up the tomatoes with your wooden spoon and add one can of chicken broth. Let that come to a boil and then cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
Drain the roasted peppers and dump them in.
Let that come to a boil.
Add in the 10 leaves of chopped fresh basil. Test the soup for salt and pepper and then let it rest for about 10 minutes, to cool. I also added some sugar to tone down the acidity a bit.
Slowly ladle half a blender full of the soup and let it blend until smooth. Do the same with the remaining soup and dump it all back into the pot.
Here’s where the creamy comes in. The half and half just gives the soup a great smooth mouth feel. It also tones down the bite of the tomato. Overall , if you like tomatoes and soup then you will absolutely love the flavor of this soup. And the best part is, I make extra because soup always tastes better the next day!
Creamy Tomato & Roasted Pepper Soup
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes
1 can chicken broth
1 (12oz) jar roasted red bell peppers
10 leaves fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp sugar, optional
1 cup half and half
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy pot on medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, thyme and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste and cook until incorporated, just 1 more minute.
Add tomatoes, red peppers, and chicken broth and let simmer for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded together. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, and the sugar, if needed. Add basil, and puree using blender until smooth. Add half-and-half and stir.
Makes 8-10 servings.