Monday, October 13, 2008

Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup

Back when I first started this blog in December of 2007 I made a Tomato soup that was very good. But I am extremely excited that I have been able to greatly improve upon that effort with two very key ingredients that I will discuss in this post.

Here is the simple recipe from Lets start gathering some ingredients.

Shallots, back to these wonderful little guys. My local stores have been out of them for a while which makes me very sad!

Some real butter.

Canned tomatoes, because the fresh ones I get here taste like nothing.

some chicken broth and heavy cream.

Secret ingredient number 1, Pine Nuts. I am a fan of the Roma Tomato Basil soup at Nordstrom's and someone once told me the secret ingredient are these little guys. I think they are on to something because they add such a unique flavor to the soup. The soup I made last year was good, but this just made it even better. I am all about taking something good and doing that extra little something that makes you go, WOW.

Now it is time for secret ingredient number two...

No, it is not an alien spacecraft, it is an Aerogarden. I am not endorsing this product as part of any ad campaign or getting any benefits in any way from talking about this little wonder. I am simply talking about it because I LOVE it. I live in the desert, do not like dirt and I cook for one person. These 3 things combined mean that, 1. I cannot grow my own herbs outside or inside in dirt because I am extremely negligent to my plants and I am a terrible plant Mommy. 2. If I use fresh herbs I buy them, use them once, forget they are in the fridge and they die. Again, the bad plant Mommy thing. So when I got this thing I had unnaturally high hopes for it, and in just 7 weeks it has exceeded my wildest dreams...

7 weeks
I have fresh herbs growing like a JUNGLE in my husband's 'dude room'. The kitchen was a bit too hot for them, so he agreed to give up space in his 'man cave' for my little project. I am telling you, this is gardening for goofs, cultivation for cretins, horticulture for half-wits...ok I think you get it. This thing is fool-proof and claims I will have herbs for 4 weeks at least. To say I am excited is an understatement. That is why this thing is secret ingredient 2...

Because it provided me with this gorgeous and delicious basil. It makes all the difference in this soup. The Holiday Season is coming up and I am betting you may be able to find an Aerogarden on sale, I think it is totally worth it.

Ok, back to cooking!

Get your shallots in the butter and add some olive oil as well.

Once the shallots have softened add in the tomatoes and basil.

Add in your pine nuts and broth and give it a stir. Don't forget to season with some salt and pepper as well. Reduce the heat and let this simmer for at least 15 minutes.

After you let it simmer for a while it is time to blend it up. I have a hand held immersion blender, but you can use a regular blender also, just be careful as the soup is hot!

I love my hand held blender and it is perfect for stuff like this. As you can see the soup already looks creamy, this is from the pine nuts. You can actually skip the cream if you want and just eat it like this, but I sure do like cream.

So once it is a texture you are happy with, put it back on the stove and let it heat through, then stir in your cream.

I can't believe how much difference the fresh basil made. I had always been curious about the Aerogardens but I am a believer now.

Thanks for all the great comments and don't forget to follow me on Twitter.


  1. YUM! I make that soup, but without the pine nuts. I'll be adding them next time.

    Also, I'll be hinting to Santa about the Aerogarden.

  2. This looks yummy. Do you think vegetable broth would work as a substitute for the chicken broth?


    PS - I've made portobello pizzas twice! So good.

  3. Yes, all tomato soup MUST have basil. It is the law in my house. However, I have a tough time growing it, so I am definitely going to be looking into that AeroGarden thing!
    Also, the pine nuts are inspired as well. In retrospect, it makes total sense. After all they pair up with basil in pesto, so why not in soup as well?

  4. Grammie likes that AeroGarden thing, but the big "fire monkey" has thought she has lost her mind. She isn't sure where she would put it if she had it anyway.
    This will go in our Dining Alone Book of recipes. We probably make one a week.

  5. The soup looks great, and the aero-jungle intriguing... I will have to look into that thing...

  6. I am seriously thinking about getting me one of those things! I don't have a dude room in my house to borrow space from though so I have to figure out where I would put it. My garage is insulated so I'm going to research to see if it would be okay in there. That soup looks wonderful. I loved your other tomato soup recipe! I also love and am signed up for all their emails.

  7. Yum. Tomato Basil soup is one of my faaavorites - especially with the cream :) And aren't immersion blenders one of the best inventions ever?

    I wish the aerogarden were cat-proof. Mine loooove to chew on leafy greens ... then hork them up on the carpet.

  8. Yay! I always make my tomato soup with lots of fresh basil - but pine nuts is compelely new.. Perhaps I should try making this some day soon!

    And I'm repeating myself, but I'd do anything to get one of those Aerogardens.. *sigh* But importing something like that would cost me a fortune.. :S

  9. Creamy Tomato Basil Soup was on my supper menu . . .it was just great.
    It will be a standard this winter, even if I have to buy basil. In other summers I have made pesto from my basil plants but the weather got to them this year and they were pitiful. I did find enough tiny leaves to use tonight, though.

    Stella's Mom

  10. This looks so yummy! I'm a big fan of soup. Will try it out.

    The aerogarden sounds really cool! I'll be keeping an eye out for it here. It's really a great idea for growing herbs.

  11. That looks delish!
    My pots of basil are about to fritter out. I need to plant some inside for the winter.

    PS~ there is no need to dine alone, you can always stop in at the WhistleStop Cafe!

  12. I just made this (came to your blog from cooking community) and it was a little more watery.. .Maybe my tomatoes weren't sweet enough! I did get to play around with adding some parm cheese (mmmm) and spices. I will add the pine nuts next time! Such an easy recipe but so hearty and perfect for this fall weather!

  13. This recipe is so delicious. I just tried it and it was a huge hit! Instead of a blending the soup, I left it as a chunky soup and it was soooo good. Give it a try!