A Basil Harvest: Creamy Summer Tomato and Vegetable Soup

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<em>Serves 4</em>
</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>• 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil<br />
• 1 heaping cup diced red onion<br />
• 1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and diced<br />
• 2 medium carrots, sliced<br />
• 1 pound ripe red tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced<br />
• 1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced<br />
• Salt and freshly ground pepper<br />
• 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock<br />
• 1 cup basil leaves, chopped<br />
• 2 cups milk<br />
• Basil for garnish</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>3. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot, garnished with basil shreds or whole small leaves.</p>
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<strong>A Basil Harvest</strong>
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