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Tomato and Basil Soup

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Serves: 4-6
15ml / 1 tbsp olive oil
25g / 1 oz tbsp butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
900g / 2 lb ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
about 750ml / 1 1/4 pints chicken or vegetable stock
120ml / 4 fl oz dry white wine
30ml / 2 tbsp sun-dried tomato puree (paste)
30ml / 2 tbsp shredded fresh basil, plus a few whole leaves to garnish
150ml / 1/4 pint double (heavy) cream
salt and ground black pepper

Heat the oil and butter in a large pan until foaming. Add the onion and cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened, but do not allow to brown.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes and garlic, then add the stock, white wine and sun-dried tomato puree, with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat, half-cover the pan and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop the tomatoes sticking to the base.

Pour the soup into a food processor or blender. Add the shredded basil and blend to a puree. Using a wooden spoon, press the puree through a sieve (strainer) into a clean pan. Discard tomato seeds left in the sieve and put the pan back on the stove.

Add the double cream and heat through, stirring. Do not allow the soup to boil. Check the consistency and add more stock, if necessary. Adjust the seasoning, pour into heated bowls and garnish with whole basil leaves. Serve immediately.

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