A Basil Harvest: Creamy Summer Tomato and Vegetable Soup

| August/September 1996

Serves 4

Here’s a pretty harvesttime soup for that moment when the tomatoes and basil are at their peak. Try ‘Aussie Sweetie’ or sweet green basil mixed with a little cinnamon basil in this simple soup, which can be made in advance and served hot or cold.

• 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 heaping cup diced red onion
• 1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
• 2 medium carrots, sliced
• 1 pound ripe red tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
• 1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
• 1 cup basil leaves, chopped
• 2 cups milk
• Basil for garnish

1. Heat the oil in a nonreactive soup pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes and carrots, stir, cover, and sweat them for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bell pepper, season with the salt and pepper, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock and cook for 5 minutes longer.

2. Stir in the basil, cover, and let stand for a few minutes. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor and return it to the pot. Add the milk, stir, and heat just to a simmer.

3. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot, garnished with basil shreds or whole small leaves.

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