I first found this soup several years ago in the LCBO’s Food & Drink magazine. Since roma tomatoes are fairly good all year round, it’s a great way to enjoy tomatoes throughout the winter months. The arborio rice acts as a thickener (similar to how it does in a risotto), so there is no cream needed in the soup itself. You can splurge though and add a swirl of cream when serving or use sour cream.
Roasted Tomato Soup with Basil
8 to10 large roma tomatoes (about 2 lbs.)
3 unpeeled garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 yellow cooking onion, chopped
1 large stalk celery, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1/4 cup short-grain arborio rice
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup whipping cream or sour cream
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Core tomatoes and slice in half lengthwise. Place cut-side up on a large, parchment-lined baking sheet with sides. Place un-peeled garlic cloves in the centre area of the pan. Drizzle tomatoes with 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil. Roast, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until tomatoes are lightly browned and very soft.
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until vegetables have softened. Pour in chicken stock then sprinkle in the rice. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then cover and reduce heat so mixture simmers for 25 minutes or until rice is very soft.
Add tomatoes and garlic squeezed from peels into stock. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Purée in batches in a blender or food processor (or use an immersion blender). Strain soup, discarding solids. Stir in sugar, salt and pepper. Stir in basil, taste and add more seasoning as needed. Reheat. Serve with a swirl of whipping cream or sour cream and a grinding of black pepper.
Serves 8 to10