Tomato-Basil Soup

Tomato-Basil Soup

A heartwarming cup of a classic wintry soup is a fitting addition to the savories course of a seasonal afternoon tea. Add a touch of holiday whimsy by topping each serving with a homemade star-shaped crouton.

Tomato-Basil Soup
Serves: 6 (1-cup) portions
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup sliced shallot
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Garnish: Star Croutons (recipe follows)
  1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Add shallot, stirring and cooking, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and cook shallot until tender, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, crushing coarsely with a potato masher or large spoon. Stir in basil, salt, and pepper. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat, and cover pan with lid slightly ajar until soup simmers gently. Cook soup, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.
  2. Remove pan from heat. Add cream and sugar. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until very creamy. (Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.)
  3. Garnish individual servings with Star Croutons, if desired.
To allow flavors to meld, soup can be made a day in advance, placed in a covered container, and refrigerated.

Star Croutons
Serves: 12
  • 3 slices firm white sandwich bread, frozen
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • ⅛ teaspoon sandwich seasoning*
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Using a 1½-inch star-shaped cutter, cut 12 stars from frozen bread slices, discarding scraps.
  3. Gently toss bread stars in melted butter, covering evenly.
  4. Lay bread stars in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sandwich seasoning. Bake until bread stars are lightly browned and evenly crisp, 7 to 10 minutes, flipping bread stars halfway through baking time. Let cool completely.
*We used Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle, which is a dry blend of salt, garlic, black pepper, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram, available at or by calling 800-741-7787.

Although we used white sandwich bread, homemade croutons are simple to make with virtually any type of bread. We used a 1½-inch cutter shaped like a star, but other festive designs, such as trees, Santas, and angels, would also work. Star Croutons can be made up to a day in advance and stored in an airtight container.


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January/February 2022 Issue Preview