All things tomato…

Though the weather has been gloriously warm this week, autumn has indeed made it’s appearance in Chicago.  Fall has a way of bringing with it a feeling of nostalgia; whether it’s the golden light or the bright color of , I always find myself searching for those good old comfort items.  While summer may be about sushi al fresco, breezy fabrics and shortened hemlines, fall most certainly welcomes soft leather boots, warm sweaters and homemade soups.

Take this autumn classic: creamy tomato basil soup, sadly absent from our childhood as our mother has a rather selective aversion to the tomato.  She viewed tomatoes (much like our first boyfriends) as a fickle foe: acceptable in certain forms, but not others, with confusing overlaps and questionable lapses in consistency.  From a young age she tried to impress upon us the rules of the red fruit: tomatoes were acceptable in all foods deemed “sauce” but not those deemed “ketchup.”  Homemade, chunky spaghetti sauce both smothered spicy italian sausages and sealed unruly cracks in lasagna.  Spaghetti sauce was decidedly better than ketchup, we noted.  Unless, for example, that ketchup was on a hot dog.  Apparently ketchup was acceptable as a hotdog pairing, but it was never good enough for a bratwurst.  Bratwurst was in a category of encased meats too good to be defiled by the tomato.  “Okay,” we nodded, our young impressionable minds forming horribly misguided ideas about tomatoes.  We tried to keep up.  And while ketchup was occasionally relegated to the “sauce” category, it other times found itself sequestered in the “too chunky” category which was decidedly worse….I could go on.  Needless to say, tomato soup with it’s various textures and styles was way to much for our good/bad tomato spectrum – we’ll need to revisit with a 3D version.

While we may not be able to change momma’s mind about tomatoes, I can promise that this recipe will be a hit and is as easy as un..deux…trois! 

Serve with a crusty grilled cheese or crisp apple slices and as always, an oversized glass of wine.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup:

  • 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes – no salt added
  • 29 oz. can of tomato sauce – no salt added
  • 3-4 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 small to medium shallots – minced
  • 1 tsp raw garlic – minced
  • 1 bunch fresh basil – chiffonade – make sure to use a sharp knife or you’ll bruise the leaves
  • From the Pantry – a pinch or to taste
    • butter
    • olive oil
    • fresh ground pepper
    • dried oregano


  1. In a large pot, heat two tablespoons of butter and one teaspoon of olive oil.  Add the shallots and cook until soft.
  2. Add fresh garlic, and cook for no longer than 2 minutes.  Don’t burn the garlic!
  3. Add tomatoes, a pinch of pepper and oregano.
  4. Bring to a boil and reduce to very low heat. 
  5. Allow soup to simmer on low for 30 minutes to an hour, stirring frequently to avoid burning and with the lid on to avoid too much thickening.  If soup becomes thick, add a bit of vegetable stock or water until the consistency returns to your liking.
  6. Depending on cooking time, begin to add basil about halfway through cook-time.  Add the basil bit by bit so it infuses the soup with flavor, but still has that fresh taste.
  7. 3-5 minutes before soup is finished, add the heavy cream slowly, stirring the soup as you pour.  The amount of cream you add is up to you!
  8. Enjoy 🙂

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