This Tomato Basil Soup is savory, hearty, and loaded with good-for-you ingredients. We roast garden-fresh tomatoes, yellow onions, and garlic until beautifully caramelized and tender -- this will form the base of this soup, giving it a rich, deep flavor.
TOMATO AND ONION PREP: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place on a large (15x21-inch) or 2 smaller sheet pan(s). Cut the onions in half and then each half into 4 equal sections. Place on the sheet pan.
GARLIC PREP: Peel and discard the outer layers of the entire garlic bulb making sure to leave the skins of the individual cloves intact (and keep the bulb together as much as possible) Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4th an inch from the top of the cloves. Wrap the entire bulb tightly with tin foil, adding 2 teaspoons olive oil before sealing it completely. Place the wrapped garlic on the sheet pan along with the tomatoes and onions.
ROAST: Drizzle 1/4 cup (50g) olive oil over the tomatoes and onions. Add about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper and toss to coat. Spread into one even layer and roast for 40-45 minutes or until very tender and slightly caramelized.
SOUP BASE: In a large (8-quart) stockpot or cast iron pot, heat the butter over medium heat. Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once butter is melted, add the entire can of tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Then add in the container of chicken stock, dried oregano, red pepper flakes (if using), fresh or dried thyme, and fresh basil leaves. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes and onions including all of the accumulated liquid on the baking sheet. Let the garlic packet slightly cool and then press the garlic cloves out of the papery covering (they should easily slide out). Add 6-9 of the roasted garlic cloves (depending on how much you like garlic -- we like lots) into the soup. Add another 2 teaspoons salt and an additional teaspoon of pepper (or to taste).
SIMMER: Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer (uncovered) over lowest heat for 40 minutes stirring occasionally, about every 5-10 minutes.
BLEND: When finished, transfer the mixture (in 3-4 batches) to a high-powered blender and process until smooth. (See Note 2.) Once blended, taste for any additional seasonings. Depending on the acidity of tomatoes used, you may need to add in a teaspoon or so of white sugar.
SERVE: If desired, serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and crusty bread. Enjoy!
Note 1: Basil: If buying the packets of basil at the grocery store, this comes out to 4 full packets (3/4 ounce each).Note 2: Blending: When blending, make sure to secure the lid on tightly and then select the “soup” or “hot” cycle. Remember that heat expands, so increase speed slowly and watch it carefully to avoid soup exploding out or over. Remove the lid carefully as it will likely release a burst of steam. If your blender doesn’t have a hot/soup setting, you can compensate by replacing the blender lid with a folded towel and holding it in place with your hands. This will help reduce steam pressure. If you want a chunkier soup, use an immersion blender. If you do this, you'll want to coarsely chop the onions and garlic after being roasted and before adding them to the stockpot.