Tomato soup from the familiar red and white can has been a mealtime staple for generations.
While that sweet version holds many fond childhood memories, as adults, most of us are looking for less corn syrup and more tomato flavor in our soup. Luckily, a deeply flavorful version, sure to please both kids and adults, is easy to make from scratch.
This week's recipe, Roasted Tomato Soup with Pistachio Pesto, starts with cherry tomatoes, which are roasted in a hot oven. Roasting concentrates their flavor and caramelizes their natural sugar, which brings a nuanced flavor to the sweetness. Canned tomatoes add another level of tomatoey deliciousness and a touch of acidity, which brings a necessary balance to the bowl.
While no garnish is necessary to make this a satisfying meal, it pairs so well with all kinds of toppings, even those with complex flavors like pistachio-basil pesto, that it's hard to resist gilding the lily.
Quick and easy to make, this pesto, which is heavier on nuts and lighter on basil than a more traditional version, adds richness, texture and sweet earthiness to the puréed soup. It's a sophisticated flavor that transforms a simple meal into something memorable.
Of course, topping options are limitless. Try adding crumbled goat cheese, grated Parmesan, or even a cubed grilled cheese sandwich. (Why bother dunking, when you can turn that sandwich into the best croutons ever?)
Toasted pumpkin seeds and a swirl of plain yogurt can take a bowl to the next level. As can a poached egg and a drizzle of Sriracha sauce. You get the idea.
Or better yet, create a topping bar with a few of your family's favorite garnishes and let everyone make that bowl their own.
Roasted Tomato Soup with Pistachio Pesto
Note: A deeply flavored, well balanced tomato soup can be the perfect backdrop for interesting garnishes, like this slightly sweet, earthy pistachio-basil pesto. From Meredith Deeds.
• 2 (10 oz.) pkg. cherry tomatoes
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 3/4 tsp. salt, divided
• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
• 1 (28 oz.) can peeled whole tomatoes, in their juices
• 3 c. homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
• 1/4 c. heavy cream
• Garnishes, if desired
• Pistachio Pesto (see recipe)
• Crumbled goat cheese
• Chopped roasted, unsalted pistachios
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss together the tomatoes, olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread the tomatoes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are browned in spots and exuding liquid.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes, until the onions soften. Add the garlic, thyme, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and continue to cook, stirring, for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
Add the canned tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon. Add the chicken broth and the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender, food processor or blender until smooth and return to the pot. (To prevent the hot soup from splattering when using a blender, fill only halfway, loosen the plastic insert in the top and cover with a dish towel.) Add the cream and season with more salt and pepper, if necessary.
Ladle the soup into warm serving bowls and garnish with the pesto, crumbled cheese and chopped pistachios, if desired.
Pistachio Basil Pesto
Makes about 3/4 cup.
Note: Extra pesto would be delicious on pasta, tossed with roasted vegetables, added to vinaigrettes or spooned onto fish or chicken. From Meredith Deeds.
• 1 c. packed fresh basil leaves
• 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 c. dry-roasted, unsalted pistachios
• 1/4 c. finely grated Parmesan
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Process basil, oil, pistachios, Parmesan, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor until it's finely chopped, but hasn't turned into a paste.
Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Instagram at @meredithdeeds.