Spicy Tomato Soup with Basil Pesto

This was heaven with a grilled cheese sandwich today. I love pureed soups because they seem so rich, but really they’re packed with veggies you may not even know are there. This particular soup also packs a wonderful spicy, garlicky punch! 

Here’s what you do…

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

(Please note, the tomatoes and garlic may be roasted a few days ahead of time and refrigerated.)

In a large bowl, toss 6 – 8 medium/large tomatoes in olive oil to lightly coat. Cut the top off a head of garlic so all the cloves are exposed and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Transfer tomatoes and garlic to a sheet pan, season with salt and pepper, and roast for 45min – 1hour.

They should look something like this, the garlic should be turning light brown.

Put the tomatoes (without the garlic) through a food mill to remove skins and you’ll have this nice puree. If you don’t have a food mill, you may simply peel them by hand, they will be pureed later in the soup.

Set the puree aside (refrigerate if you are doing this step ahead of time). Also, set the garlic aside for later use.

Rough chop 1/2 large, sweet onion

two celery ribs

(And, yes, it’s ribs, not stalks – I looked it up. The stalk refers to the whole thing. I know I’m a nerd, but it seemed like important information at the time.)
1 bell pepper – red, yellow or orange
Season with salt, pepper, and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes.
Saute in 2 TB olive oil on medium heat until they begin to caramelize and soften.
Add 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, bring to a low boil on med-high heat, turn down to med-low and simmer for @15 minutes. The veggies should be soft enough to puree nicely.

Add tomatoes. Also, scoop out 3-4 cloves of roasted garlic and add to the soup. Refrigerate the remaining cloves of garlic in a tightly sealed container and reserve for other uses (garlic bread, sauces, etc.).

Puree the soup until smooth using an immersion blender (shown) or transfer to a blender/food processor and puree in small batches (not nearly as convenient, but it works).

Stir in 2 TB prepared basil pesto. Taste. If it needs salt/pepper, add it now. If the soup seems too thick, go ahead and add a little more stock. Then make yourself a grilled cheese sandwich.

I hope you enjoy it as much as Bob and I did today! Too spicy for the girls. Oh well, more for us!


R.I.P. Andy Rooney… He followed his passion and worked until the age of 92. He left 60 minutes a month ago but insisted he wasn’t retiring because writers never retire. Thanks for the inspiration, Andy! Great quote from him… so true.

Happiness depends more on how life strikes you than on what happens.
Andy Rooney