*Photos and Content Updated June 2012*
Inspiration: I need to experiment more with weekend lunches. For some reason, I usually just resort to whatever we can scrounge up from the pantry. But why? Weekends at home are really the perfect time to cook more. And our cat Boots seems to agree! Somehow, he got it into his head that sitting on top of the refrigerator and meowing/nuzzling my head when I walk by/doing any cute thing that he can think of every time that I come near him means that he will receive treats. He was my buddy the entire time that I was whipping up this soup.
What we Loved: This soup has a rich, garlicky flavor from all of the pesto, which is such a great complement to tomatoes in any form. It’s really just a classic Italian-flavored soup with a nice little spin. I love the dollop of extra pesto served on top, which adds a bright burst of herbal flavor, and I can never get enough black pepper freshly ground atop my tomato soup. For some reason, I’ve just always loved that flavor contrast of bright tomato and spicy pepper – from tomato soup with pepper to freshly sliced grape tomatoes with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper on top. What a great and classic pairing.
Helpful Hints: Don’t skip the butter in this recipe. It really cuts the acidity of the tomatoes, leaving you with a balanced flavor (plus just a touch of a buttery flavor, which is always a plus). You can also use less stock and/or more half and half for a creamier soup.
Tomato Pesto Soup
Source: Original Recipe
Butter, for sauteeing
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock, to keep this vegetarian)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
6 tablespoons pesto
2 tablespoons butter
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 cups half and half
1. Heat a pat of butter in a large pot. Saute the onion until softened, then add the garlic. Cook for an additional minute.
2. Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, sundried tomatoes, and pesto. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
3. Turn off the heat, and blend with an immersion blender or food processor. Return to very low heat, and add the butter and half and half. Stir well to combine, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Serve with a dollop of additional pesto and freshly ground black pepper.