I've been making this soup since our first year of marriage. We absolutely love it-no really, it's the best. and easiest tomato basil soup I have ever eaten. No peeling of fresh tomatoes either. If you have an immersion blender, this soup is a total breeze and requires minimal clean-up.
If you've ever eaten at Nordstrom Cafe and had this soup, you'll know why it's the best. Then again, their recipe (as seen below) calls for 2 cups of heavy cream--no wonder it's amazing. I just can't do that--so I lightened it up and it's still wonderfully delicious. Usually, I only use 1 cup of fat-free half & half. My changes are in italics below. This soup is particularly delicious with a grilled (fresh) mozzarella sandwich. ENJOY!!!!
Adapted from Nordstrom Cafe Entertaining at Home Cookbook: Delicious Recipes for Memorable Gatherings.
NORDSTROM TOMATO BASIL SOUP
1/3 cup olive oil (I used a little less)
5 carrots, peeled and chopped (I used 4 the last time and the soup was still terrific)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. dried basil
3 cans (28 oz) whole Italian-style tomatoes in puree (really, that is too specific-any canned tomatoes will do)
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth (I usually seem to need a bit more)
Salt & pepper, to taste
A dash of garlic powder (not in original recipe)
2 cups heavy cream (to lighten, use half & half or as I use, fat free half &half)
Saute carrots and onions in olive oil until tender. Add basil. Stir occasionally and cook for 10-12 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth and season with salt and pepper (to your liking). Bring the soup to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. (I cover mine to prevent splattering and it turns out just fine)
Puree soup in a food processor or blender (and if you're lucky enough to have a stick blender, just puree the soup in the pot). Then, add the heavy cream or half & half.
Garnish soup with slivered basil leaves.
P.S. This soup freezes great!