Pantry Tomato Soup

Winter is in full force, which means it’s officially soup season. So, today, we’re kicking off a month of tasty soups, starting with this straightforward tomato recipe from Alexandra Stafford of Alexandra’s Kitchen. Here’s how to make it…

Classic Tomato Soup (adapted from Bon Appetit)
By Alexandra Stafford of Alexandra’s Kitchen

This recipe is incredibly simple, calling for nearly all pantry items: onions, garlic, tomato paste and canned peeled tomatoes. Heavy cream adds a necessary touch of richness and balances the acidity and sweetness of the tomatoes. Serve the soup with lots of freshly cracked pepper and shaved parmesan and bread, of course.

Recipe: Classic Tomato Soup
Serves 4

You’ll need:

2 tbsp unsalted butter
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tsp sugar, optional
1/4 cup (or more) heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano for serving
Fresh bread for serving

Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add thyme, onion and garlic. Season with salt. Cook until onion is completely soft and translucent, about 10 to 12 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; add tomato paste. Continue cooking, stirring often, until paste has begun to caramelize in spots (about 5–6 minutes). It will begin to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add tomatoes with juices and 4 cups water to pot. Increase heat to high; bring to a simmer. As the plum tomatoes rise to the surface while the soup simmers, use kitchen shears or a knife to cut them up. (You’ll purée it later, but somehow I think cutting them up, helps them cook down better.) Reduce heat to medium. Simmer until flavors meld and soup reduces to about 1 quart, 45 minutes or so. Remove soup from heat; discard thyme sprigs. Working in small batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth or purée with an immersion blender.

Stir in 1/4 cup cream. Taste and adjust as needed. I like adding the teaspoon of sugar, and I add at least a teaspoon of kosher salt (probably 1.5 teaspoons, but I like salt, so season to taste). I like lots of fresh cracked pepper, too. Simmer soup until flavors meld, about 5 to 10 minutes longer. Taste again, and add more cream, if desired.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Serve with more pepper on the side and slices of crusty bread.

Thank you so much, Alexandra!

P.S. More recipes, including lemony white bean soup, and sweet potato minestrone.

(Recipe and photos by Alexandra Stafford. Thanks to Stella Blackmon for helping with this series.)