Tomato Basil Soup with Parmesan Crostini

 
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It's still winter, and everyone is talking about the cold weather we've been having. I unfortunately can't change the weather, but I can offer you a comforting soup that tastes of vine-ripened garden tomatoes.

It's like summer in a bowl!

This soups tastes nothing like the iconic canned tomato soup that most of us grew up with. It's cream less and can be dairy free if you switch out all the butter for olive oil. You'll get a much better flavor using whole canned tomatoes as your base then diced. The addition of red wine vinegar gives the soup even more depth of flavor.

Cook's Notes:

Canned tomatoes vary in quality and salt content. I prefer to buy tomatoes imported from Italy, and the ones labeled "San Marzano" are even better. The recipe calls for whole tomatoes, but in a pinch you could use diced, but not crushed, as they are too thick for the soup.

I suggest using a nice fruity olive oil to coat your crostini..

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Ingredients

SOUP

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium sized carrots, chopped

2 cans,28 ounce whole tomatoes

4 cups good quality chicken stock

2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup fresh chopped basil or 2 tablespoon pesto, plus more to garnish

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

PARMESAN CROSTINI

1/2 Baguette

1/4 cup extra virgun olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

In large heavy saucepan, melt butter with olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes; add garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute. Add carrots and cook for another 4 minutes, stirring often. Add tomatoes and break up with a potato masher or tongs into small chunks.

Add chicken stock and bring liquid to a boil; lower to a simmer and cook 30 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Puree soup with hand blender( immersion) Add balsamic vinegar and honey. Heat through over stove. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and sprinkled with chopped basil.

Parmesan Crostini

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cut baguette into 1/4 inch slices. Place bread slices evenly on a rimmed baking sheet, and lightly brush each slice with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake until toasted and lightly brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.

 
Marisa Curatolo