Sunday 27 April 2014

Tomato Soup with Basil Pesto

This is a very quick and fresh tasting soup at any time of the year.  I know that a lot of recipes use roasted tomatoes which is equally delicious but after such a long winter I wanted something with a brighter flavour.  Although it looks like the soup is heavy with bits of the pesto from the pictures, it is just that the basil and garlic pieces have floated to the top ... the soup is actually clear below.

And just a handful of ingredients are needed:
  • onion
  • crushed or whole tomato
  • stock
  • prepared pesto
  • parmesan rind (optional)

Start with the tomato base. If you are using canned or homemade crushed tomatoes, you can probably halve the cooking time.  I started with thawed whole plum tomatoes that a friend gave me from last year's harvest and cooked this about two hours to break down the tomatoes.

Chop 1 medium yellow onion and saute in a small amount of butter.  Add 5 cups of tomatoes and 4 cups of stock (chicken or vegetable).  Cook 1-2 hours.

Pass through a sieve and press down with the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.  I ended up with about 5 cups of the smooth tomato soup (and I was not very patient - I probably could have gotten another cup or so if I took more time).

Return to the pot and add two Tbsp of prepared pesto - here is how I make it.  I had some frozen in bags from last fall.

I do not usually add parmesan when I freeze pesto (I wait and add it in when being used).  So for the soup, I also added the rind end of a parmesan wedge - a great way to use that last hard bit as the cheese will melt off in the soup.

Heat through.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add more pesto if needed.

And who doesn't love a grilled cheese with tomato soup?  I made mine with aged cheddar, a wee bit of crumbled feta and added just a few leaves of arugula and baby kale for some texture (and a teeny bit of nutrition).

I love grilled cheese and I'm always looking to add new twists.  If you have any interesting combinations you've tried, I'd love to hear about them in the comments section.  Here are a few of my other grilled cheese sandwiches:

Grilled Cheese with Tomato Jam

Grilled Sourdough with Balsamic-Strawberries, Chocolate and Oka Cheese

Triple Grilled Cheese with Garlic Pesto, Tomato and Rocket

Grilled Cheddar, Apple and Raspberry

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