Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Roasted Garlic & Asiago Cheese

Tomato Basil Soup ~ Super Soups

Nothing says fall like a steaming cup of soup.

This updated version of a classic soup will draw rave reviews.

These super vegetables are a top source of lycopene, a heart-protective antioxidant.

Studies show that women with high levels of the antioxidant have a 34% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with women with lower levels.

Those who got plenty of lycopene were also more likely to have higher blood levels of other beneficial carotenoids such as lutein and beta-carotene.

So at least once during the summer, buy yourself plenty of plum tomatoes at the farmers market or save some from your garden and make this soup!

Yes you have to boil and peel them as well as roasting the garlic in the oven, both of which are a few extra steps, but these few extra steps make this soup extraordinary.

We also added in Asiago because seriously, what isn't better with cheese?

Nearly everything is better with a generous sprinkling of some sort of cheese.

And in this case Asiago was just the first type that came to mind both for flavor and it’s smooth yet stringy melting characteristics.

Ingredients:

3 lbs. ripe Romas

1 1/2 heads garlic

3 1/2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped (1 1/3 c.)

1 (28 oz.) can crushed plum tomatoes

1 (14 oz.) can low-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/3 c. chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish

1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp heavy cream

4 oz. Asiago cheese, finely shredded

fresh croutons, crusty bread or crackers, for serving

Preparation;

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Meanwhile place garlic on a baking dish (I just used an oven safe glass bowl) and drizzle 1 1/2 tsp of olive oil over garlic.

Cover dish with foil and bake garlic in preheated oven until soft, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and set aside.

Once the water reaches a boil, carefully place the plums in boiling water and allow to boil just until their skins burst, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile fill a large mixing bowl with ice water.

Once they've burst, immediately transfer to an ice bath and allow to cool about 30 seconds (or until they are cold enough for you to handle).

Now peel and dice them.

Heat the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil in a large enameled pot over medium-high heat.

Once oil is hot, add diced onion and saute until soft, about 6 minutes.

Add in diced tomatoes and their juices, crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper, sugar, red pepper flakes and basil.

Peel and mince roasted garlic then add to soup.

Bring mixture just to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour (you can simmer it up to an hour longer over low heat, just cover with lid after 1st hour).

Puree soup with an immersion blender if desired (if you like it slightly chunky no pureeing is necessary) or process in batches in a blender, filling blender only halfway each time and removing cap in lid and covering with a dish towel (to allow heat to escape and prevent the blender from bursting).

Stir in heavy cream.

Serve warm with fresh croutons, shredded Asiago cheese and sprinkle top with fresh basil.

Chefs Note:

If you don’t want the “Creamy” just leave out the heavy cream for a delicious, yet thinner soup

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