Spicy Tomato Basil Soup

These cold winter days are perfect for simple and satisfying one pot meals, especially bubbly hot soups! One of my favorite simple soups has always been the classic Tomato Basil. Simple to whip up, but never short on flavor, this version is rich and creamy, loaded with fresh basil and perfectly spiced with crushed red pepper.

 
Spicy Tomato Basil Soup

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Winter is a great time to break out the canned or jarred tomatoes for this recipe. They’re gonna be the heart of this soup, so you’ll want to use good quality tomatoes. I usually look for Cento San Marzano or Red Gold Tomatoes, but a simple swap for fire-roasted tomatoes would be great here, too!

Start by sautéing a diced yellow onion in two tablespoons of butter on medium heat. Sweat the onions, stirring occasionally, until they become translucent (this takes about 8 minutes). Add in the minced garlic and keep stirring. After a few minutes, add in some crushed red pepper. About 1/2 teaspoon is a good starting point, then you can add more to get it to the perfect spiciness for you.

Pour in the tomatoes with all their tasty juices. Then, add a little olive oil (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon), the broth and a bit of salt & pepper. Stir everything together and let it get to a low simmer, stirring occasionally. Be sure to run your spoon along the bottom corners of the pot when you’re stirring. After about 15 minutes, drop the heat to low.

Spicy Tomato Basil Soup

Now, we get to play with some kitchen toys! We’re going to use an immersion blender to pulse this to a somewhat smooth consistency. But, this step is all about your personal preference. Like a silky smooth soup? Blend away! Like it a little chunky? Give it a few pulses, then leave all the chunky bits you can handle!

Now, lets turn this into Tomato Basil soup, shall we?!

Spicy Tomato Basil Soup

Add in a big handful of chiffonade sliced basil and one cup of heavy cream. When the cream collides with the vibrant red sauce…oh my. It’s totally ok to stare (and drool???) while these two swirl together.

Spicy Tomato Basil Soup

Of course, a little grated parmesan cheese never hurt anyone! I like to stir about 1/4 cup of the nutty cheese into the pot.

Spicy Tomato Basil Soup

*Note: Some recipes call for a little sugar to offset the acidity of the tomatoes. Personally, the richness of the cream and subtle sweetness of basil balance out the acidity in this recipe, but if you like some more sweetness to offset the acidic tomatoes, this would be a good point to add in a pinch of sugar.

Spicy Tomato Basil Soup

After another 5 minutes on low, this soup will be ready to serve. I like to fill up a bowl, add a little more crushed pepper, basil and parmesan on top. Of course, this soup wouldn’t really be complete without some sort of toasty bread to soak it all up!

Yield: Approximately 8 servings

Spicy Tomato Basil Soup

prep time: 5 minscook time: 40 minstotal time: 45 mins

This is a classic creamy tomato basil soup with a spicy kick of red pepper! Pairs perfectly with toasty slices of bread.

ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (+/- for spice)
  • 1 (28 oz.) can whole or diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups broth (veg or chicken)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • large handful of basil (~1/2 cup), chiffonade sliced or chopped
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • parmesan cheese for sprinkling
  • toasty bread for dipping

instructions:

  1. Heat butter on medium (to medium-high) in a large pot, add onions and sauté for about 8 minutes, or until translucent, stirring frequently.
  2. Add garlic and continue sautéing for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add crushed red pepper, tomatoes (with juices), olive oil & broth and a bit of salt & pepper. 
  4. Lightly simmer on low (to medium-low) for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  5. Reduce heat to low. 
  6. Using an immersion blender, carefully puree the soup to desired texture. 
  7. Add cream & basil and continue cooking on low another 5-10 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle in parmesan cheese and any additional salt, pepper & red pepper to taste. 
  9. Garnish your bowl with a little more basil, parmesan & red pepper and serve with toasty bread. 

NOTES:

You'll want to use good quality canned tomatoes for this recipe. Personal favorites are Cento San Marzano and Red Gold. You could also used fire roasted tomatoes for a deeper flavor. 

Some recipes call for the addition of sugar to offset the acidity of the tomatoes. Personally, the richness of the cream and subtle sweetness of basil balance out the acidity in this recipe, but if you like some sweetness to offset the acidic tomatoes, you can always add a pinch of sugar towards the end of cooking.
Spicy Tomato Basil Soup
 

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