Why this recipe works: We thought we knew tomato soup. It's velvety smooth and creamy—perfect for a hot summer day. But there's another tomato soup—a recipe made without cream, so we can really taste the tomatoes. Usually flavored with onions, garlic, and basil, it's the perfect way to use a surplus of ripe summer tomatoes. For our recipe, we concentrated the tomato flavor and evaporated excess moisture by roasting the tomatoes—first tossed with onion, garlic, and olive oil—then pureeing them in a blender. We salted our reserved chopped tomatoes to soften their texture and added them to our soup during the last five minutes of cooking, thereby boosting the flavor of our soup with tiny bursts of fresh tomato essence.
Ingredients for the roasted tomatoes
3 pounds roma or plum tomatoes, cut in half
8 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper
For the caramelized onions:
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
Additions to the soup
½ cup packed basil leaves
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1-2 cups water or vegetarian broth, depending on how thick you want the soup
Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place halved tomatoes and garlic cloves on the baking sheet and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Generously season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes.
2. While the tomatoes are roasting, you can make the caramelized onions: Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to a large pot and place over medium heat. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally. Check onions every 5-10 minutes until they have completely caramelized and turned golden in color. This ususally takes 20 minutes.
3. Once tomatoes and garlic are done roasting, allow them to cool for 10 minutes, then add them to a food processor or high powered blender and blend until smooth. Next add basil and caramelized onions and blend again. Alternatively you can add the tomatoes to the large pot and use an immersion blender. It's really just about what you have available to you.
4. After blending, transfer back to pot, turn to medium low heat and add in oregano, vegetarian broth and salt and pepper to taste. From there you can add in any additional add-ons you want (as listed in the ingredients). Allow tomato soup to simmer 10 minutes before serving. To serve, garnish with parmesan cheese and serve with grilled cheese, if desired.