WOHOO!! The first day of Daylight Saving Time is finally here!! It’s light out after dinner once again! How cool is that? I think it was even warm enough today to melt some of the snow outside and with temps approaching 60 degrees this week maybe we can kiss the snow goodbye til next year! We can only hope right? I think once Daylight Saving Time starts we are in the homestretch. St. Patricks’s Day is our next holiday, then Easter and before we know it we will be ushering in summer and celebrating Memorial Day!! Like I said…WOHOO!!
This winter our menu has been loaded with soups. Soups for lunch and soups for dinner. Here a soup, there a soup, everywhere a soup soup!! I have whipped up chicken tortilla soup, cream of broccoli soup, cheddar ale soup, classic cream of mushroom soup, chicken noodle soup and the list goes on. At our house soup is something that we enjoy all year long, not just during the winter. Soup served with a salad or a sandwich or even with a nice crusty bread makes for the perfect dinner meal for us. Today’s soup is one of my favorites, CreamyTomato Basil Soup with Cheese Toasts. Takes me back to grammar school when every Friday during Lent the lunch special was either Macaroni and Cheese ( a special favorite of mine coming soon to the blog) or Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup.
My college roommate asked me to include a nice tomato soup on the blog so this one is for Lori! I also added some nice garlic and fresh mozzarella cheese toasts for dipping. This soup is quick and easy to make and is loaded with the fresh flavor of basil and also has a little kick with the addition of the red pepper flakes. Feel free to add more if you like it spicier and if you like chunks of tomato in your soup don’t puree all the diced tomato pieces. Hopefully this one hits the spot Lore! Love you lots and hope you enjoy!
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes undrained
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves chopped
- Cheese Toasts:
- 1 baguette sliced on the diagonal 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 3-4 garlic cloves whole
- 1 ball fresh mozzarella sliced
Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes stirring often. Stir in diced tomatoes and cook for 8 minutes stirring and mashing some of the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Add brown sugar and the broth and bring to a boil. When soup comes to a boil reduce the temperature and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Puree the soup in small batches in a blender or use an immersion blender. Only put small amounts of the hot soup in the blender so as not to have hot soup exploding from the top of the blender. When you are done pureeing return soup to the pot and add the heavy cream. Heat through. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and top with a cheese toast.
For the Cheese Toasts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice baguette on the diagonal. Brush the top and bottom of each slice with olive oil and sprinkle top with salt and pepper. Arrange on baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. When they are done browning scrape the top of each slice with garlic clove. Place back on baking sheet and top with small slice of fresh mozzarella. Place in oven and continue to bake until cheese is melted.