10 – 12 Roma tomatoes (or 1 can 28 oz whole tomatoes, drained)
3 cups tomato juice
2 cups chicken stock
15 or more fresh basil leaves 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
freshly grated parmesan cheese
Combine tomatoes, tomato juice, and chicken stock in a large saucepan. Simmer 30 minutes. Add basil. Transfer soup IN BATCHES to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Return to saucepan over low heat. Whisk in cream, butter, salt, and pepper. Whisk until butter is melted and soup is thoroughly heated. Garnish with parmesan and enjoy!!
*this came from the recipe book, ‘Stop and Smell the Rosemary: Recipes and Traditions to Remember’
*why start with whole canned tomatoes, only to have to puree them? (I had often wondered that myself then I saw this answer in an Ask Martha column) “Despite the variety of tomato products available at the grocery store, most chefs prefer to start with whole, peeled tomatoes. This choice ensures you’re getting top quality. Manufacturers will take the unblemished fruits and pack them whole, leaving the rest to be pureed, crushed, or diced. Also, more-processed products often contain tomato paste, which can alter the flavor of your dish. Starting with whole tomatoes allows you to control the texture of your preparation: One brand’s crushed might be thick, while another’s could be soupy….”
*if you live in Austin, I recommend buying your fresh basil at Central Market. They sell generous portions with 20+ large leaves for just $1!
*we often make this soup more filling (and give it a bit more nutritional value) by adding cooked quinoa to the soup
*as noted above, you must puree the tomato mixture in batches! I am sure there is some mathematical formula out there that charts the correlation between the increasing temperature of liquids and the increase in steam pressure. Also add in the acceleration of a blender motor and the volume of the hot liquid to the equation and you have a formula for disaster. Basically it is good to know that hot liquids create steam which will blow the top off the blender. Be sure to securely hold your blender lid down when you turn it on (I even put a rag over the top for extra precaution). I made the mistake once of thinking I could save some time by filling up the blender with as much liquid it as it could hold. It was a poor choice. The lid burst off the top and sprayed hot tomato puree all over the place and everything within a 15 ft radius was victim to this explosion. Kitchen cabinets, counters everywhere, the surrounding tile floor and carpet, table and chairs, couches, the far wall in the den, our TV armoire, the two dogs we had at the time, and even poor Rob (who was standing near me at the time) all displayed the red-hot (or hot-red) evidence of this catastrophe. Clearly, it made a huge a mess! So learn from my mistake and take the time to do the blending step in batches.