Fall comes late here in Arizona…today was the first day that actually felt like fall! I’ve (Sarina) been dying to start making some soups, and today I finally got the chance! I made one of our family favorites: Tomato Basil Soup with Tortellini. This is a great recipe to throw in the crock pot and let it do all the work. Don’t worry about cutting the vegetables perfectly, as you’ll be pureeing the soup close to the end. You can also alter the consistency by changing or removing the amount of vegetables you use (more veggies = thicker soup!) The best part is all but one of the ingredients are things I always keep in the house or grow in the garden. We serve the soup with a garden salad and homemade French bread.
1 quart vegetable stock
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (or 2 28 oz. cans gound peeled tomatoes, for thicker soup)
A handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, roughly diced
3 carrots, roughly diced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional, in every house but my own!)
4 tablespoons tomato paste (optional, leave out if you want a thin soup)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 12 oz. package frozen cheese tortellini
1 package of your favorite croutons (optional)
Place the stock, tomatoes, basil, bay leaf and thyme in the crock pot, set it to high (4 hours) or low (6 hours) to get the crock pot hot. Heat olive oil in a pan, add onions and carrots on medium heat and cook until almost soft. Add garlic, and seasonings and cook for one minute more. Remove from heat and stir in tomato paste (if you’re using it) and then transfer the onion mixture to the crock pot and stir to combine. Cover and allow to cook 4 or 6 hours, depending on if you’re cooking on high or low heat. Towards the end of cooking, use an immersion blender to make the soup nice and smooth. Add cheese, butter, heavy cream and stir. Turn the crock pot to high, if you hadn’t already, and add tortellini. Cook 10 minutes and serve hot. Top with croutons right before eating.
Remember you can always adjust your seasonings to suit your family’s personal style. Mine likes things on the spicy side, I’m always a bit heavy handed with the spices. Let me know how your family like it by commenting below. Enjoy!