I know I’ve been talkin’ a lot of tomato lately, but can you blame me? They are everywhere and taste good in everything. After all, the tomato is a uniter, not a divider, bringing together fruits and vegetables. OK, I stole that witty little line from the Tomato Art Fest slogan, which happens to be this weekend. You should definitely brave the heat to eat tomatoey treats and see whimsical tomato creations at the Art & Invention Gallery like this:
In honor of Tomato Art Fest, a plethora of Bradleys in my CSA, and wishing fall would hurry up and get here, I decided to try a simple tomato soup recipe by Ina Garten. Tomato soup is my favorite comfort food when I’m at my parents’ house in the winter. My mom and dad used canned tomatoes from their garden and serve the soup up with cornbread or grilled cheese—a meal that always satisfies on a chilly night. But turns out this cozy winter go-to isn’t so bad in summer either.
Fresh Tomato Basil Soup
Adapted from Ina Garten
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 carrot, unpeeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (I also threw in some leftover heirloom cherry tomatoes)
¾ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
12 (or so) basil leaves, chopped (reserve a bit for serving)
2 cups chicken stock
½ tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup half-and-half
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onion and carrot and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.
- Add the half-and-half and purée with an immersion blender until you reach desired consistency. I left mine a little chunky.
- Garnish with basil leaves and serve with cornbread, grilled cheese, or garlic toast.